WATERVILLE — A Waterville man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to charges relating to his attempt to secure an early release from prison by forging qualifications for a drug abuse recovery program, authorities said.

Frank Curtis, 41, was convicted of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and committing mail fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank.

Curtis will be sentenced after the U.S. Probation Office submits an investigation report and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to information provided by Frank’s office.

Court records state that while he was an inmate with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Curtis directed a Maine resident to create false substance abuse treatment records that could get him into the Residential Drug Abuse Program at a facility in Estill, South Carolina.

Upon successful completion of the recovery program, participants can qualify to be released from prison up to a year before their court-ordered sentence ends.

Curtis mailed instructions for how to create the false records to the Maine resident, who then sent the documents to a Bureau of Prisons facility in South Carolina, according to Frank.

“Law enforcement discovered the scheme prior to Curtis’s admission to the program,” according to a written statement from Frank’s office.

The Bureau of Prisons inmate locator tool notes that Curtis is due to be released from the federal system Sept. 20, 2020, but is not in the agency’s custody.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Office of the Inspector General investigated the case alongside the Healthcare Crimes Unit of the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

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