BANGOR — A Newport woman who had been the interim executive director of the Hancock County Planning Commission was sentenced May 27 in federal court for wire fraud and federal government program theft, acting U.S. Attorney Donald E. Clark announced.
U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. sentenced Sheri G. Walsh, 56, to two years in prison and three years of supervised release. Walsh also was ordered to pay approximately $325,000 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in December 2020.
According to court records, from June 2015 through April 2019, Walsh embezzled more than $325,000 from two not-for-profit organizations where she had previously been employed. Walsh carried out the scheme by fraudulently transferring funds from one organization to another, then converting the funds to her own use. During the relevant period, one of the not-for-profits received federal grant monies from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In imposing sentence, Judge Woodcock observed that Walsh had “violated not only her basic duty of loyalty” to the not-for-profit organizational victims, “but also her duty of loyalty to the missions of the two organizations.” He condemned Walsh’s offense conduct as “deplorable and inexcusable.”
“The EPA awards grants in the public trust to protect the environmental health and safety of our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Earle. “This case demonstrates that a grant custodian who violates the integrity of the agency’s taxpayer-funded programs will be held accountable by the Office of Inspector General.”
The Ellsworth Police Department, the FBI, the EPA Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General investigated the case.