BANGOR, Maine — The former environmental director for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to one year of probation for embezzling more than $25,000 over six years.
Stephen E. Crawford, 68, of Beaufort, North Carolina, pleaded guilty in November 2015 to embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.
“I can’t begin to say how profoundly sorry I am for taking the tribe’s money and making it harder for them to implement their programs,” Crawford told the judge just prior to being sentenced. “I knew it was wrong. I always planned to repay it.”
Before the sentencing, Crawford repaid the nearly $26,374 he stole from the tribe between 2006 and 2012.
He worked for the tribe between February 2003 and February 2012, when he was fired after the embezzlement was discovered, according to court documents.
Crawford told U.S. District Judge John Woodcock on Tuesday that he began stealing in 2006 after his wife underwent treatment for breast cancer
when the couple did not have insurance. His wife died in March 2015 in North Carolina.
He was able to steal the money by getting travel advances from the tribe and reimbursement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to court documents. Crawford should have signed the reimbursement checks from the EPA over to the tribe.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell recommended Crawford spend one month in jail followed by a year of probation. Federal Public Defender James Nixon urged the judge to sentence Crawford to two years of probation.
Woodcock said that he did not send Crawford to prison because he paid the entire restitution amount prior to sentencing.
Crawford faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.