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Property manager skips town

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A former Polson property manager who skipped town with hundreds of thousands of dollars in security deposits is now wanted for skipping court.

District Judge Deborah Christopher issued a warrant in the amount of $150,000 for the arrest of Douglas Dennis Lichte, 42.

The warrant was issued after he failed to appear at court in Polson on Dec. 13. The court calendar shows Lichte was to appear on that day for a change of plea hearing that could resolve sixteen felony theft charges and three misdemeanors. 

Lichte’s attorney, Paul Ryan of Missoula, told the court during a recent appearance that the parties were close to resolving the case by way of a plea agreement that involved restitution around $300,000. 

Lichte has been telling the court, through his attorney, that he is close to having the restitution amount available. A plea agreement was almost reached in October of 2017 that put restitution closer to $180,000. 

Ryan told the court during an appearance on Oct. 26, 2017, that his client needed 60 more days to come up with the funds and a change of plea hearing was tentatively set for Jan. 4, 2018.

The Polson Police Department issued a warrant for Lichte’s arrest on March of 2017 after receiving numerous complaints of tenants not being able to recover security deposits from their rental units. Lichte was picked up on the warrant after a routine traffic stop in Gallatin County. 

He made an initial appearance at District Court in Polson on March 30, 2017, and posted $100,000. Christopher ordered Lichte to forfeit his passport during that appearance. At the time, the bond posted appeared to be enough to cover the monetary losses to the alleged victims, but as more victims came forward, the losses grew. Deputy Lake County Attorney Anciaux believes the $300,000 figure may be low and says there is the potential for more victims to materialize. 

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