Brit will stay in prison until his hearing

This Is Wiltshire: Christopher Baines, who has gone on trial in America on charges of fraud and intimidation Christopher Baines, who has gone on trial in America on charges of fraud and intimidation

CHRISTOPHER Baines will face two more months imprisoned in Georgia following the postponement of his trial until June.

Baines, originally of Hyde, Cheshire, was sentenced to five years in prison for 30 counts of fraud at a trial which went ahead in his absence at Swindon Crown Court last year.

A number of charges had been directed at Baines as manager of the Mr Woodz furniture store in the Brunel Centre.

He stood accused of cheating his customers out of thousands of pounds.

While on police bail in 2012, Baines fled the country, taking on the alias of Chris Bartholomew, and was tracked down to locations in Canada, Florida, Georgia, and finally Texas, where he was arrested at a hotel in San Antonio.

Following allegations from further suspected victims in America and Canada, the arrest warrant was issued for Baines and he was extradited to Georgia in October last year to face criminal charges.

In December, the Morgan County Grand Jury returned an indictment for Christopher Baines, aka Christopher George Bartholomew, 48, from Madison, on one count of financial transaction card fraud, one count of theft by taking, and one count of influencing a witness.

According to indictments and arrest warrants, Baines, aka Bartholomew, conducted a fraudulent card transaction with a woman and later allegedly threatened the woman with injury.

Baines has now spent almost six months behind bars, and was due to stand trial on Tuesday.

But he has now received a continuance while more evidence is gathered, which means his day in court will wait until the summer.

One of his ex-girlfriends in America, who would like to remain anonymous, said she was relieved he is in prison but would like to see him answer charges.

“The fact that he will remain incarcerated is a good thing, but it is not enough, he should face justice,” she said.

Further investigations into Baines’ activity are being conducted, and warrants have been issued for his arrest in Canada. Authorities there have said they will not be seeking his extradition at this stage.

A spokesman for Winnipeg Police said: “The investigation into Christopher Baines, also known as Christopher Bartholomew, remains open and warrants are in existence.

“It does not appear at this time that attempts to extradite him will be made.”

Three years of deception

January 2011 – Mr Woodz shop ordered to close and leave the Brunel Centre.

February 2011 – 30 customers complain of losing between £400 to £1,400 at Mr Woodz.

  • January 2012 – Baines disappears from the UK following preliminary court hearing.
  • April 2012 – Baines claims he has been in a car accident while on holiday in Mexico and cannot attend court.
  • Early 2012 – Baines sets up business in Winnipeg, Canada
  • August 2012 – Baines is tried in the UK in his absence and sentenced to five years in prison on 30 counts of fraud.
  • August 2012 – Arrest warrant issued for Baines.
  • September 2012 – Police appeal for information.
  • December 2012 – Winnipeg Police open investigation.
  • Early 2013 – Baines moves to Florida.
  • April 2013 – Baines moves to Georgia.
  • October 2013 – Baines arrested at hotel in San Antonio, Texas, by sheriff’s office at Madison County, Georgia.
  • November 2013 – Baines extradited from Texas to Georgia and remanded in custody.
  • December 2013 – Baines is indicted on charges of fraud and intimidation.
  • April 2014 – Trial arranged for Baines is given continuance until June for more evidence to be gathered.

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