AUGUSTA — A losing Republican candidate in the June 12 primary for the Legislature pleaded guilty today to a charge of willful violation of the Maine Clean Election Act and was sentenced to seven days in jail.

Michael Hein, 42, was originally charged with attempted theft by deception, but that charge was dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said that Hein attempted to qualify for public financing under the Clean Election Act and needed qualifying contributions of $5 each from 60 registered voters in District 57, north Augusta. Hein admitted that he violated law by paying those contributions out of his own wallet.

“Mr. Hein covered $5 contributions for 15 of those contributors,” Robbin told Justice Michaela Murphy in court today. “Had he qualified, he would have received about $3,900” for use in the general election in November.

Robbin said the charge of willful violation of the Clean Election Act best reflects what happened and Hein’s desire to avoid having a theft by deception conviction on his record.

Hein had no previous criminal record. He is to report to jail 9 a.m. July 10 to begin serving the seven-day sentence.

Hein lost the GOP primary election for House District 57 to Andrew Worcester, who later withdrew his name from the race.

Maine’s ethics commission says it found that Hein falsified forms signifying that donors had given him $5 contributions in his effort to qualify for Clean Election money.

Hein was represented by Attorney David Geller.

Robbin said Hein’s was the first conviction for the offense of wilful violation of the Maine Clean Election Act.

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