The former owner of DuraStone Inc. and his wife are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Portland on Dec. 1, on charges that they embezzled about $28,000 from the company’s profit-sharing plan.

James and Teresa Duhamel were arrested this month in Florida.

U.S. Department of Labor investigators say the Duhamels stole money that was supposed to be distributed to about 20 DuraStone employees after the company went bankrupt and shut down its concrete products plant in South Portland in 2005.

According to court records, James Duhamel has been released on $75,000 cash bail. His wife was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond, which means she will have to come up with that money only if she fails to appear in court.

If they are convicted on the embezzlement charges, the Duhamels will face as much as five years in prison and maximum fines of $250,000.

James Duhamel, 61, was in the public spotlight in the late 1990s and early 2000s as his company came under fire for environmental violations.

DuraStone manufactured pre-cast concrete products, such as steps and construction panels. In April 1999, federal and state environmental investigators raided the company’s plant and reported finding a drainage pipe that was discharging hydrochloric acid into the ground near a stream.

The company was shut down for several days and Duhamel began an extensive cleanup. The city of Portland and Duhamel ultimately agreed in court that DuraStone would vacate the site in January 2000.

In March 2002, Duhamel pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor count of illegal discharge of pollutants. He was sentenced to four years of probation and a $2,500 fine. DuraStone was ordered to pay about $136,000 in fines and restitution.

The company moved into a new plant in South Portland, but that plant was shut down when DuraStone went bankrupt in 2005. At the time, Duhamel said the company had failed to recover financially from the environmental fines, and the money spent on the cleanup and on lawyers to deal with the dispute. 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at: [email protected]