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October 13, 2015

Ex-Head of Maine Charity Gets 4 Years for $4.6-Million Theft

The former president of a Camden, Me., nonprofit serving the area's needy was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for embezzling $4.6 million from the organization, the Portland Press Herald reports. Russell "Rusty" Brace was also ordered to repay United Mid-Coast Charities, which he led from 1999 until his retirement last year.

Mr. Brace, 82, pleaded guilty in May to federal charges of mail and tax fraud. Prosecutors said that throughout his time with United Mid-Coast he deposited checks payable to the charity, which supports social-service agencies in two Maine counties, into a bank account he used for personal expenses. The nonprofit's treasurer testified at Friday's sentencing that the theft amounted to half of all donations during that time.

Mr. Brace came under suspicion shortly after his retirement in August 2014 when charity officials discovered that some donation checks had not gone into the group's coffers. Under a judge's questioning, Mr. Brace acknowledged stealing the money to cover up business failures that threatened to push him into bankruptcy.