PORTLAND — A Brunswick woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $300,000 from Wiscasset-based Coastal Enterprises Inc. over a four-year period.
Stacy A. Backman, 41, faces federal program and tax fraud charges in connection with the case. She appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald E. Clark, Backman embezzled the money from 2010 to January 2014, when she was employed as a fund accountant at CEI. She allegedly failed to report the stolen money on her federal income tax returns.
CEI, a nonprofit community development and financial institution, received more than $10,000 in federal funds last year, placing the case in federal jurisdiction.
When CEI discovered the alleged embezzlement in early January, the company terminated Backman’s employment, according to Clark.
CEI officials found out that Backman was using an unauthorized company credit card to pay for personal expenses, he said. A later investigation into her use of the card showed the extent of the fraud.
“CEI is both saddened and disappointed by this event,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday.
“We continue to move forward with our effort to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.”
Reached Tuesday, a CEI spokesperson refused to answer further questions about Backman or describe oversight mechanisms the company has in place to prevent fraud and embezzlement.
Backman faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the federal program fraud charge and three years in prison and a $100,000 fine for the federal tax fraud charge.
According to Clark, a sentencing hearing for Backman is scheduled for Sept. 29.