A Portland woman was sentenced Monday to serve nine months in prison for embezzling more than $330,000 in connection with the proposed sale of a paper mill in Baileyville.

Jody Flynn, 61, was found guilty Aug. 15 after a jury trial in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court in Portland on a felony theft charge.

Flynn, a former principal of Greentree Renewable Energy Inc., had stolen the money in 2009 and 2010 from a Chinese investment firm and spent it on her daughter’s college tuition, a car, antiques and jewelry.

In total, she was given a four-year sentence with only nine months to serve in prison. The remaining 39 months of her sentence were suspended during a three-year probation term. Flynn was ordered to begin serving the prison portion of her sentence on Oct. 20, according to court records.

Flynn was also ordered to serve 500 hours of community service and pay $332,641 in restitution, court records state.

Despite having no formal training in investment work, Flynn formed Greentree with business partner Berthier “Bert” Martin to facilitate the Woodland paper mill’s sale to Guangzhou Dinson Engineering and Trading Limited, according to the indictment.

As part of the arrangement, Guangzhou Dinson’s parent company, Charmwell Holdings Ltd., wired to Greentree $500,000, which was placed into a company checking account controlled solely by Flynn. The mill’s owner later decided not to sell, and the Chinese firm asked that the majority of its money – about $380,000 – be returned.

Instead of returning the money, Flynn repeatedly made excuses over a two-month period to stall while she began “systematically withdrawing the funds from the Greentree account and depositing them in her personal accounts and into the account of an unrelated entity in which she had a 50 percent interest,” court documents say.

The mill owner later changed its position and completed the sale to Guangzhou Dinson. The investment firm deducted the money embezzled by Flynn from the $1.5 million commission Martin was supposed to receive for facilitating the sale. Martin later sued Flynn, but that case was put on hold pending the criminal trial.

In court documents and depositions, Flynn had defended herself initially by saying she had not spent the money but had moved it to her personal account to protect it from other parties involved in the sale, whom she accused of being dishonest. After the prosecutor obtained documents showing that Flynn had spent the money, she changed her story and said the company had loaned it to her.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

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Twitter: @scottddolan