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Charges against Dancer reduced as trial begins

by Western News
| September 22, 2009 12:00 AM

Jury selection for the retrial of former Libby businessman William Dancer began Monday with the accused facing half of his former charges. The prosecution dropped four charges last week.

Dancer stands trial this week on three counts of felony embezzlement involving his former employer, Sagle, Idaho-based Independence Home Center Inc. The prosecution dropped three additional embezzlement charges and one money laundering charge in a motion that was signed last Tuesday.

The county attorney’s office had no comment Friday as to why the charges were dropped.

District court judge Michael Prezeau declared a mistrial in March after jurors deliberated for two days and were still “thinly split” on a verdict. If Dancer had been convicted of all charges, he would have faced a maximum of 20 years in prison for money laundering and up to 10 years for each embezzlement charge.

In the March trial, owners of the manufactured home supplier accused Dancer, who had been the company’s Libby branch manager, of shuffling customer money between his personal bank accounts and using new customer payments to conceal embezzlement.

Dancer’s defense countered that the clash between Dancer and the company was a  “business dispute” and that Dancer used customer money to pay legitimate business expenses.