Portage Lake store owner sentenced in theft of hunting, fishing license fees

Posted Sept. 12, 2011, at 9:34 p.m.

PORTAGE LAKE, Maine — A sales agent of hunting and fishing licenses for the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was ordered to spend 30 days in jail and repay $16,000 in fees after she was found guilty on Friday of misappropriating license fees.

Attorney General William Schneider announced Monday that Lynn C. Taylor, 64, of Portage Lake, pleaded guilty to theft in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta. Under a plea agreement, she will be required to repay over $16,000 in fees within six months of her plea. If she fails to make the restitution, she faces a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Taylor, owner of Coffin’s General Store in Portage Lake, signed an agreement in 2006 to become a license and registration agent with IF&W. The contract provided that money collected from the sale of licenses, permits and registrations belonged to the state of Maine and would not be used by the agent for business or personal purposes.

From Nov. 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008, Taylor failed to turn over $16,752 in fees, according to Schneider.

Taylor was indicted on a charge of theft by misapplication of property in Kennebec County in February.

She told a Kennebec County newspaper at the time of the indictment that she “simply forgot” to pay $16,000 that was due to the state.

“I’m simply trying to hold the store together so I can pay people what I owe,” she said.

Schneider said the state entrusts certain individuals to act as sales agents to sell to the public hunting, fishing and other licenses on behalf of IF&W.

“The fees collected for those licenses are necessary for the enforcement of fish and game laws and the protection of Maine’s wildlife resources,” said Schneider. “License fees do not belong to the licensing agent, but to the state, and failure to turn over the fees amounts to theft.”

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