CROWN POINT — Lawyers are working to resolve a consumer fraud case against the owner of a shuttered St. John appliance store.
Erik W. Schneider, 43, of Lowell, appeared Friday in Lake Criminal Court for an initial hearing on a newly amended charge of theft and corrupt business practices.
He is accused of bilking 32 customers of Hometown Appliances, 11130 W. 93rd Ave., St. John, out of a total of $85,765.
Crown Point defense attorney Joshua S. Malher said Friday he welcomes the new charges, which he expects will consolidate about 18 criminal cases now pending against Schneider, making a negotiated plea agreement more likely.
Deputy Prosecutor Jovanni Miramontes told Senior Judge Kathleen Lang said he expects his office expects to dismiss the remaining charges now pending against Schneider.
Lang set a new court hearing for Aug. 20 to update the status of those negotiations.
Schneider case is still set for a jury trial to take place the week of Sept. 13.
Prosecutors say Schneider did business is St. John between 2018 and 2019 under the name Hometown Appliances, offering a discount to customers who agreed to pay cash, but never delivering the goods.