Bangor man charged with stealing more than $100,000 from Kiwanis groups

Posted Jan. 30, 2013, at 4:20 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2013, at 6:44 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A local man who kept the books for the Bangor-Breakfast Kiwanis Club and the organization that sponsored the city’s July 4 fireworks display has been indicted on theft charges by the Penobscot County grand jury.

Bruce Fowle, 62, of Bangor was indicted Wednesday on two counts of theft, according to the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.

Fowle allegedly stole $100,000 over a period of several years from the fireworks fund and about $40,000 from the breakfast group between sometime in 2000 and July 31, 2012, Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said after the grand jury handed up indictments.

He is being prosecuted only for money taken between 2007 and 2012 due to the six-year statute of limitations, Roberts said.

“Mr. Fowle was indicted on two counts of theft by unauthorized taking of more than $10,000,” the prosecutor said. “I’m not sure what the exact amount is that was taken during that time period.”

An arraignment date has not been set.

Fowle, who is listed as a certified public accountant in the Bangor telephone book, was a member of both organizations. He served as treasurer for them from 1998 through July 2012.

“We are saddened to learn that a fellow volunteer for the Fourth of July Corporation has violated our trust and the trust of our donors and residents of the area, who depend on us for the Independence Day festivities,” Tony Bernatche, president of the nonprofit, said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon. “ We struggle each year to bring the best possible event to the Bangor and Brewer areas, and part of that struggle is funding. Last year’s fireworks alone cost $20,000.”

The corporation is made up of members of five Bangor area Kiwanis clubs and community members, he said.

A financial review performed by officers of the nonprofits uncovered questions about “fund accountability.”

“The initial discovery was made after fellow officers and other members of the organizations’ boards of directors were unable to verify funds on deposit at a local financial institution following fundraising events surrounding the July 4th, 2012, celebration,” the release said.

In August, the Kiwanians asked Bangor police to investigate, Roberts said.

Fowle, who was not named in the press release, is no longer active in either group, according to Bernatche.

Bernatche said that a check for $5,000 from Fowle had been received but has not been cashed.

“We sincerely hope the trust of the many businesses, organizations and individuals who support our efforts will continue,” Bernatche said. “While one individual may have crippled us temporarily, we’re confident we can recover from this with help from the public and our loyal supporters who care about maintaining traditions that come with celebrating our nation’s Day of Independence, and the significant related charitable efforts.”

If convicted, Fowle faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He most likely would be ordered to pay restitution to both organizations.

The Bangor Daily News helped raise funds for the July 4 fireworks display in past years.

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