Maine to Recover $1.3 Million Diverted By Former President of M.W. Sewall

Failed to pay sales, gasoline, special fuel taxes

Published in CSP Daily News

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Attorney General William J. Schneider announced that the state will recover $1.3 million in sales, gasoline and special fuel taxes that were diverted by Philip Sewall, former president of M.W. Sewall & Co., Bath, Maine.

Philip Sewall was found guilty today in West Bath District Court on three counts of failure to pay the taxes collected and fined $2,000 on each count, a statement issued by Schneider's office said. The court ordered Sewall to pay $50,000 within 12 months in addition to the $225,000 he has already paid to Maine Revenue Services.

M.W. Sewall & Co. was a family owned company based in Bath that operated a heating oil delivery business and 11 gas stations and convenience stores in the Midcoast region. Philip Sewall failed to pay Maine Revenue Services the money collected as sales and fuel taxes from January 2009 through March 2009, instead using the funds to pay his own compensation and other business expenses.

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The company filed for bankruptcy protection on March 27, 2009, and its assets are in the process of being sold. As part of a global settlement, the state will continue working with the bankruptcy trustee for M.W. Sewall & Co. to collect the remaining $1.06 million from the sale of company assets.

Philip Sewall was removed from M.W. Sewall & Co. and the companies that have emerged from bankruptcy are under new ownership.

"The agreement reached requires Philip Sewall to personally pay out a large amount of money to cover the unpaid taxes owed by the company and other assets are available to repay the state through the bankruptcy. The remaining companies of M.W. Sewall are under new leadership and can move forward. This is a good outcome for the citizens of Maine," said Schneider.

This case was investigated by the Maine Revenue Services' Criminal Investigations Unit. Assistant Attorney General Gregg D. Bernstein handled this matter for Attorney General Schneider's Criminal Division.