The former Litchfield Fair treasurer has been charged with embezzling more than $10,000 from the Litchfield Farmers’ Club, which runs the fair.

Club officers said Wednesday more than $80,000 disappeared from the various accounts over the past two years. On Friday, after a closer look at the books, that number rose to $120,000.

Ryan A. Beaudette, 36, of West Gardiner, was arrested Friday morning by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Detective John Bourque.

The charge, a class B felony, indicates more than $10,000 was stolen, and carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

Beaudette had been the club treasurer since 2014, and a news release from the sheriff’s office says Beaudette “confessed to stealing over $10,000.”

Bail has not been set, according to the release.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said Friday that if Beaudette does not post bail during the weekend, he would be seen by a judge on Monday via video from the Kennebec County jail.

Beaudette met with the the club’s president and first vice president Wednesday at the Litchfield Fairgrounds, along with attorney Kevin Sullivan, who has volunteered his services to the board.

Sullivan said Beaudette admitted having stolen the money from the club.

“He said it began in 2016 with cash withdrawals up to $7,000 to support his gambling habit, and then went to ATM withdraws of the maximum amount of $500 well over a dozen times at the Oxford Casino,” Sullivan said via email. “Then he used the card to pay some personal expenses, such as his car payment and his cellphone.”

Sullivan said he spent several hours with Beaudette going over the transactions for the past couple of years.

“We went through all the bank accounts, and the net (loss) is in excess of $120,000,” Sullivan said Friday.

Sullivan said the records showed the theft began Dec. 23, 2015, and that Beaudette sometimes deposited money in certain accounts to cover bills.

“This was quite a concerted effort over a couple of years,” Sullivan said. “He did quite a shell game.”

Beaudette had submitted his resignation as club treasurer and later was fired at an emergency meeting of club officers, which was called Tuesday night to deal with the crisis.

Beaudette’s various social media profiles indicate he is an auditor who has worked for a number of different companies, including banks. Sullivan said Beaudette told him Thursday that he had been fired from his current employer.

Since the discovery of the theft, club officers have begun a campaign to raise a minimum of $20,000 through donations to ensure the fair can meet its financial obligations for the three-day agricultural exposition, which runs Sept. 7-9.

Sullivan said more than the minimum has been raised.

“We have received at least two $10,000 donations, enough to have the full fair run without a hitch,” Sullivan said.

The donations are being accepted at all Camden National Bank locations.

Sullivan said he also checked with the club’s insurance company and learned there was no coverage for the theft.

“There will be in the future,” he added.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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