BANGOR, Maine — The man who was charged with stealing $20,000 from the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point while he worked as their finance director was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Tuesday at U.S. District Court. He also was ordered to pay $22,571 to the tribe.
Charles Fourcloud, 59, of California pleaded guilty in June to embezzling the funds between May and August 2013. He had been hired to oversee the tribe’s $11 million budget.
Fourcloud was fired on Sept. 24, 2013, after Passamaquoddy officials learned that he had lied on his employment application and had been imprisoned in the past for embezzlement.
According to past reports, he had pleaded guilty in 1997 in South Dakota to conspiracy, money laundering, income tax evasion and embezzlement. Federal court documents indicate that Fourcloud worked under a different name as vice president of business at Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota, where he devised the scheme that enabled him and a handful of co-conspirators to embezzle about $2.66 million from the tribal college.
He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for those crimes.
Fourcloud’s attorney, Terence Harrigan of Bangor, said Tuesday that his client still owes about $2.8 million as a result of those charges.
Although Passamaquoddy officials checked Fourcloud’s references, they did not conduct a criminal background check when they hired him. When they did, his criminal past and multiple aliases were uncovered.
After an investigation by tribal police, a complaint was filed against Fourcloud on April 7. More than $5,000 of the stolen money was reimbursement for falsified travel expenses and $15,000 was reimbursement for falsified moving expenses.
He was arrested on April 25 in California and has been held without bail since then at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.
At his sentencing, which happened to be on his birthday, Fourcloud tried to show remorse.
“The Passamaquoddy were really good to me,” he said, explaining that he was given a lot of latitude to spend the money that the tribe gave him how he saw fit and that he has paid close to a six-figure salary.
“There’s absolutely no excuse for what I’ve done,” he said.
But Fourcloud tried to make the case that, because of his previous convictions, he could never hold down a job and had learned to get money however he could.
“I would stay in a job for three months, four months, sometimes two weeks,” he said, before his supervisors would learn of his past and call him in.
“We gotta let you go,” he said they would say.
As Harrigan said, while his client waited for his employers to discover his past convictions, he “got money to keep himself going because that had worked before.”
U.S. District Judge George Singal was not swayed by that argument.
“The level of fraudulent conduct … is breathtaking,” he said. “Your conduct involves groups of people who trusted you completely.”
Singal said that Fourcloud’s excuse that it was hard for him to find a job “makes a mockery of every individual who is unemployed.”
No one showed up to testify on behalf of Fourcloud, nor did any members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe offer testimony on Tuesday.