Former Arizona Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Stealing Mainers’ Identities as Part of Pandemic Unemployment Fraud Scheme
BANGOR, Maine: A Sidney man was sentenced today in federal court for making false statements with respect to work on a federally approved highway project, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee announced.
U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. sentenced Jim Wentworth, 51, to one year of probation and $35,000 fine. Wentworth pleaded guilty on June 11, 2021.
According to court records, in June 2019, Wentworth was working as the project manager for a general contractor on a bridge contract in Gardiner. The project was funded in part with federal highway funds approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In the course of negotiating a contract modification, Wentworth submitted documents falsely inflating the costs paid to a subcontractor. Based on these false submissions, the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) overpaid the general contract over $91,000. Once the extent of the fraud was discovered, the general contractor compensated MDOT for the full overpayment.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Woodcock noted that fraud concerning public funds added to the seriousness of the offense. He also noted that Wentworth faces additional administrative sanctions from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, which may include a period of supervision, a suspension, or debarment from working on federally funded highway projects.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney
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