January 22

Former employee of Maine Tourism Association charged with theft

Complaint says more than $10,000 was stolen from the Hallowell-based membership group.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A former finance and human resources manager at the Hallowell-based Maine Tourism Association is being accused of embezzling more than $10,000 from the membership organization.

Ronald G. Brann, 44, formerly of New Gloucester and currently of West Gardiner, is charged in Kennebec County Superior Court with theft by unauthorized taking, a class B felony that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Brann has been charged by complaint and summoned to an initial court hearing Tuesday, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said.

The complaint alleges the theft took place between July 1, 2010, and July 20, 2012, in Hallowell, where the 1,600-member association has its headquarters.

Vaughn Stinson, the association’s chief executive officer, said Wednesday that Brann resigned in July 2012 to take another job.

Stinson said he could not comment further on the case or be more specific about the amount of money allegedly taken.

“It’s just beginning to get into the legal system,” Stinson said.

The Maine Tourism Association has an annual budget of $2.1 million.

Last week, Stinson sent a letter to association members telling them a former employee would be prosecuted for stealing money.

“As background, some financial irregularities were brought to my attention that warranted further review,” he told them. “After consulting with the board and the association’s attorney, we commissioned a full forensic audit of our financials. The audit concluded that company funds had been misappropriated and unlawfully used by one employee. The full results of the report were then turned over to the police chief in Hallowell, and from there, as proper procedure, to the district attorney’s office.”

Stinson said new policies have been added to ward against future oembezzlement.

“This former employee was able to circumvent security safeguards that we had in place at the time,” Stinson told them. “Those safeguards have been upgraded and will continue to be monitored.”

The letter also says the association recouped most of the money through insurance.

Maloney said a substantial amount of money was involved and added that more specifics would be available once an affidavit is filed in the case, which she expects to happen before Tuesday’s hearing.

Maloney said Brann has been cooperative with investigators, and that’s why he hasn’t been arrested.

The investigation was conducted by Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason and Maine State Police Detective Abbe Chabot.

Attempts to reach Brann were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Brann took a job as adult and community education director for School Administrative District 15 in July 2012, and was working in that capacity as of Wednesday.

Betty Adams — 621-5631badams@centralmaine.comTwitter: @betadams

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