DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The former Sangerville fire chief last week pleaded guilty to using town money to fill the gas tank in his personal vehicle, according to Christopher Almy, district attorney for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties.
Charles “Chuck” Beane pleaded guilty to Class C felony theft in a Dover-Foxcroft courtroom Aug. 18, Almy said.
Under a deferred disposition agreement, Beane will be required to pay nearly $1,700 in restitution to the town and a $2,000 fine. If he meets those terms, his conviction will be downgraded to a Class D misdemeanor charge. If he doesn’t pay the restitution and fine, he will stand convicted of the felony and be sentenced by a judge, according to Almy.
Class C theft is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years or a $5,000 fine, whereas Class D theft brings a penalty of less than one year in county jail or a fine of up to $2,000.
Almy said Beane worked with the department for more than 20 years and said he had used cards meant to pay for gas for the fire department’s vehicles to fill the tanks of personal vehicles.
Almy said it was “hard to say” how much this cost the town over the years but said the restitution amount was the closest investigators came to the figure.
Beane submitted a letter of resignation to the town Feb. 14, citing health and personal reasons, according to Town Manager David Pearson. Beane had broken his leg while working on a plow truck. However, prior to his resignation, Beane already was facing questions about his then-alleged misappropriation of municipal funds.
While he was out of work recovering from his broken leg, the town received an unusually hefty gas bill and went to the local gas station to check security tapes, according to Pearson. They matched the time stamp on the security footage with the time of questionable gas purchases and saw Beane filling up his own vehicle’s tank and using the town’s card to pay for it.
The sheriff’s investigation launched soon after, when town officials contacted the sheriff’s department. Pearson said Beane was cooperative and went through the gas bills to identify which purchases he made for his own vehicle.
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