AUGUSTA — Ex-Maine Tourism Association official Ronald G. Brann pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony theft charge after he embezzled $116,000 from the group to pay his mortgage, golf and ski fees, according to a prosecutor.
Brann, 44, of West Gardiner and formerly of New Gloucester, pleaded guilty in Kennebec County Superior Court.
In outlining the evidence against Brann, Assistant District Attorney David Spencer said Brann had stolen the money while working as finance and human resources director of the 1,600-member association from 2010 to 2012.
At the time, the Hallowell-based group paid him $59,000 in annual salary plus benefits, Spencer said.
The theft was discovered in August 2012 after Brann resigned to take another job and another employee at the association looked into some unexplained credit on an association credit card that had been issued to Brann, Spencer said. Upon further investigation, “The documentation was nowhere to be found or in a shambles,” Spencer told Justice Donald Marden.
Spencer said Brann admitted in March to Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason and a Maine State Police detective that he had taken the money for his personal use, family medical expenses, paying his mortgage, and golf and ski rentals, among other items.
No explanation for the theft was given during Tuesday’s hearing, but the case was continued for 60 days for a sentencing hearing.
Spencer said the proposed sentence will be five years in prison with all but one year and 200 days suspended, with a reduction of one day for $50 repaid prior to sentencing. He said that is expected to leave a sentence of at least one year behind bars.
Spencer also said the economic loss to the association was $127,000, which included the cost of the audit.
He said the association’s insurer has agreed that the first $28,000 paid toward restitution can go to the association.
Brann, who was accompanied by his attorney, Justin Leary, said nothing to the judge except to plead guilty to the theft charge and waive indictment.
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 March when the initial charge was lodged. He has had a series of part-time jobs recently.
Brann remains free on unsecured bail pending sentencing.