PORTLAND, Maine — A Vermont man scheduled in May to be tried on charges in New Hampshire in connection with an explosion and fire in 2010 was arraigned for a second time Tuesday in U.S. District Court on a fraud charge connected to a scam that allegedly bilked a Piscataquis County town out of $300,000 in federal funds.
Craig Sanborn, 63, of Maidstone, Vt., allegedly misused funds paid to him by the town of Brownville for services and materials that were never purchased by him, according to a previously published report. The indictment charges that he faked invoices for those services and materials and faxed them to the town office, thereby constituting wire fraud.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered that he remain free on personal recognizance bail.
A trial date has not been set.
Sanborn originally pleaded not guilty to one count of wire fraud Jan. 3 in federal court in Bangor. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a superseding indictment that expands the time frame for his alleged illegal conduct, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The new indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury Feb. 7, includes two additional payments not outlined in the original indictment.
The superseding indictment charges Sanborn with one count of wire fraud between Nov. 1, 2005 and Jan. 8, 2008. The original indictment alleged the conduct began on Nov. 4, 2005.
Two new payments for machinery and salvage work for $180,793 and $8,700, respectively, are included in the new indictment, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
He was indicted in January 2012 on two counts each of manslaughter and negligent homicide by a Coos County, N.H., grand jury in connection with the deaths on May 14, 2010, of Jesse Kennett, 49, and Donald Kendall, 56, according to information provided by the Berlin (N.H.) Daily Sun.
Sanborn is accused of causing the men’s deaths by negligently engaging in “the manufacture, production, testing and storage of explosive materials that resulted in a fire at 23 Gould St. in Colebrook, [N.H.].”
In a story about the indictments, The Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader said “the explosion at Millennium Design Muzzleloaders plant in the Colebrook Industrial Park rocked downtown Colebrook.”
Sanborn denied being at fault, the newspaper reported, but Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials “concluded there were huge safety problems and blamed Sanborn.”
“An OSHA investigation determined that the workers had been required to hand-feed powder into operating equipment,” the paper said. “Following the investigation, OSHA issued the plant 54 workplace safety and health citations with penalties totaling $1.2 million.”
Five years before the explosion, Sanborn approached the town of Brownville, which had received $301,500 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, about expanding his operation.
The grant was awarded to help the defendant and X-Ring Industries of Maine renovate Brownville’s rail terminal and establish an ammunition facility there. The prosecution’s case synopsis alleges that Sanborn created and faxed four “false and fraudulent” invoices totaling $257,210 to the Brownville town office in 2007 which did not come from the companies that allegedly billed Sanborn and were never actually paid by him.
Brownville disbursed additional Community Development Block Grant funds — $73,314 — to Sanborn, the synopsis reads, in January 2008.
Sanborn allegedly endorsed the check made payable to X-Ring Industries of Maine, and deposited it into his bank account.
If convicted of wire fraud, Sanborn faces up to 20 years in prison along with a fine as high as $250,000, and he could be ordered to pay restitution.