BANGOR — The federal fraud trial in Maine of a man convicted of manslaughter after two men died when his New Hampshire gunpowder plant exploded in 2010 has been postponed as both sides try to hammer out a plea deal.
Sixty-four-year-old Craig Sanborn of Maidstone, Vt. pleaded not guilty last year to wire fraud. Federal prosecutors in Maine say he bilked the town of Brownville out of nearly $300,000 in federal funds by creating fake invoices for a project to build an ammunition facility there.
The Bangor Daily News reports that his trial — slated to begin Wednesday — has been postponed until Feb. 2 while lawyers for both sides attempt to reach a settlement.
Sanborn— who is serving a 10-20-year sentence in New Hampshire — is appealing his criminal conviction.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, in his order postponing the trial date, stated, “The parties in this case have been discussing a settlement in light of the defendant’s recent conviction in New Hampshire.”
The federal indictment alleges that Sanborn faxed to Brownville town offices false invoices for materials and services he never purchased. The funds paid to Sanborn between November 2005 and January 2008 were from a federal Community Development Block Grant to renovate an old rail terminal and establish Sanborn’s X-Ring Industries ammunition plant at the site.
A Coos County Superior Court jury in New Hampshire convicted Sanborn in October of manslaughter for multiple safety violations that led to the May 2010 explosion at his Colebrook plant that killed Jesse Kennett, 49, and Donald Kendall, 56. A third man was injured.
Sanborn’s lawyer argued he could not be held criminally responsible for the deaths because he was out-of-state at a convention when the explosion occurred.
Sanborn could face an additional 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud.