Jason Gayne is shown in 2019 when he was the executive director of Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County. He would go on to become the director of the Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce. He left both positions early this year. He was arrested Friday and is accused of illegally taking money from both organizations. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Morning Sentinel file photo

SKOWHEGAN — The former executive director of the Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce pleaded not guilty Monday to several counts of theft and forgery for what authorities say was the theft of nearly $200,000 from the chamber and a second organization that he previously led, Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County.

Jason Gayne, 36, of Athens, entered his plea during a brief arraignment before Maine District Court Judge Andrew Benson at the courthouse in Skowhegan. Gayne was indicted by a grand jury Thursday and arrested Friday with four counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, two counts of forgery and one count of theft by deception.

Gayne’s lawyer, Joshua Tardy of Newport, said Gayne turned himself in to police Friday. Tardy declined to comment further after the arraignment.

Prosecutors said during the hearing that Gayne stole nearly $200,000 from the chamber and Hospice Volunteers. Prosecutor Jonathan Provisor said the investigation began in March and that both organizations reached out to law enforcement. He alleged that Gayne took out fraudulent loans, used tens of thousands of dollars in organization funds on a personal credit card, bought a snowmobile and wrote himself checks.

The indictment says that between Dec. 4, 2017, and Jan. 11 Gayne committed the theft of more than $40,000 from the chamber. It also says that between June 22, 2021, and Dec. 20, 2021, he committed forgery using nine checks totaling more than $1,000. Between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021, Gayne committed theft of more than $10,000 from Hospice Volunteers, the document said. And it further alleged that Gayne committed forgery with a check for more than $1,000.

Gayne resigned as director of the chamber in February.


Tim Curtis, chairman of the board of directors for Hospice Volunteers, in an email Monday declined to comment on the matter, only confirming that Gayne worked as executive director of the organization from June 2015 through Jan. 31 of this year.

Provisor had asked for bail to be set at $25,000 considering the large amount of money that was allegedly taken. Tardy countered that Gayne was not a flight risk and said he was “stunned” that Gayne had been issued an arrest warrant at all, instead of a summons. Tardy said the most Gayne could possibly pay for bail was $2,000.

Benson chose to set a cash bail of $1,000, with the condition that Gayne not return to the chamber or Hospice Volunteers, or have contact with employees of either organization. Online Somerset County Jail records indicate he bonded out later in the day Monday.

Gayne’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 19.

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