TOPSHAM, Maine — The former controller of a family-owned metal fabrication company faces felony charges and a civil suit alleging he embezzled more than $200,000 between 2014 and 2017.
Georges Gendron, 65, of Poland was indicted this month by a Sagadahoc County grand jury on two counts of class B felony theft, one count each of class B felony aggravated forgery, and one count each of class C felony theft, forgery and misdemeanor misuse of entrusted property and falsifying private records.
Coastal Metal Fabrication, doing business as DownEaster Manufacturing, designs and builds dump truck bodies, trailers, and salt and sand spreaders at its 30,000-square-foot facility on Old Lisbon Road.
The company, owned by the Lauze family, employs 20 people, sales manager Matt Harkins said Thursday.
Prosecutors in the criminal case allege that between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017, Gendron stole at least $10,000, as well as two trailers worth between $1,000 and $10,000 each from Coastal Metal Fabrication, and altered or destroyed financial records with intent to defraud the company.
Sagadahoc County Assistant District Attorney A.J. Chalifour, who is prosecuting the case, declined to disclose the total amount police believe Gendron stole from the company.
Harkins said employees haven’t been told much except that the allegations are that Gendron “was moving money into a separate offsite account, utilizing business transactions.”
Topsham police executed a search warrant at Gendron’s Poland home June 15 and seized computers, phones and files, according to court documents.
Police charged him on June 21, and Gendron was released that day on $50,000 unsecured bail.
Gendron is also named in a civil suit filed by Coastal Metal Fabrication charging him with fraud.
According to a June 15, 2018, affidavit by Mark Berger, who has served as controller of Coastal Metal Fabricators since Dec. 18, 2017, Gendron was employed by the company from May 2014 to November 2017.
Berger wrote that while examining accounting records in March 2018, he found “clear evidence of employee theft by Mr. Gendron.”
In the affidavit, Berger said Gendron issued $106,728 in unauthorized payroll checks to himself between April 2015 and August 2017, and attempted to hide the theft by “paying to himself false invoices posted under various existing vendors.”
He wrote that Gendron manipulated documents from other sales; did not make required deductions for health, dental and life insurance benefits from his own paychecks; and “regularly underpaid his wages by various amounts,” but then wrote himself checks for more than he was due.
Overall, Berger said Gendron stole $204,643.
Gendron had no comment when reached by phone Thursday.
Neither attorney Zachary Brandwein, who represents Coastal Metal Fabrication in the civil case, or attorney Leonard I. Sharon, Gendron’s defense attorney, immediately returned phone calls Thursday afternoon.
The civil suit has been stayed until the criminal suit is resolved.
Gendron is scheduled to be arraigned at West Bath District Court Sept. 11, at which time a motion to amend his bail will also take place. Among bail conditions, Gendron was required to surrender his passport, but according to a motion filed by Sharon, Gendron’s mother, who lives in Quebec, is ill and he wishes to visit her. Chalifour has objected to the motion, according to court documents.
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