The treasurer of a long-standing agricultural fair was arrested Friday and charged with embezzlement.
36-year-old Ryan Beaudette of West Gardiner is accused of draining funds from the Litchfield Farmers' Club two weeks before their fair is set to open.
"We are flat broke,” says Richard Brown, first vice president of the club that puts on the fair. “We have had all of our money embezzled, up to $120,000 plus. We don't have enough money to start the fair."
Brown says the club officers were alerted after a call from the bank, but he says they only learned how much was missing Thursday night after volunteer attorney, Kevin Sullivan, launched an investigation.
At this point, says Brown, the group needs to come up with a minimum of $20,000 to open the gates September 7. They are hoping residents who have enjoyed the fair, which has been held in some form since 1857, will come through with support.
"We're trying desperately not to have to go to the bank and borrow money."
According to the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office, Ryan Beaudette has admitted to stealing $10 thousand. However, the class-B embezzlement charge indicates that he is suspected of taking more than that. If convicted, he faces a possible 10 years in prison.