October 10, 2017

Former laundromat owner sentenced for gas theft

Courtesy
Attorney General Maura Healey's office prosecuted a former laundromat owner who allegedly stole natural gas at his businesses.

The former owner of a laundromat who was found guilty to stealing natural gas in Worcester and others across the state was sentenced on Friday to one year in a house of correction.

Stephen Bankert, 60, of North Attleboro, was found guilty by a Worcester Superior Court jury last month of stealing around $200,000 from gas companies by tampering with gas meters at six of his laundromats in the state, including one in Worcester.

On Friday, he was sentenced to a year in a house of corrections and four years of probation after release, but his sentence was stayed pending appeal, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

According to the Attorney General's Office, it began investigating in August 2011 after Columbia Gas filed a complaint suspecting Bankert of tampering after detecting low and erratic consumption patterns.

The investigation found from 2008 to 2012, Bankert tampered with 10 gas meters at six laundromats he owned in Worcester, Attleboro, Brockton and Lawrence.

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