A Massachusetts man hired to manage the finances of a boatyard in Hancock County pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling nearly $800,000 from the company over a 15-month period.

Steven Nygren, 50, of Salem, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bangor to bank fraud, credit card fraud and tax evasion. He will face as much as 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million when he is sentenced.

According to a document prepared by federal prosecutors, Nygren was hired in 2013 as financial manager for Brooklin Boat Yard, which specializes in building and restoring wooden vessels, including high-end yachts. It employs about 60 people.

Beginning in 2014, Nygren drafted checks of various amounts to Continuum, his business consulting firm. The checks required two additional signatures, which Nygren forged in each case. From June 2014 through August 2015, he deposited 63 unauthorized checks totaling $732,000 into the bank account of a relative.

He used roughly half of the embezzled funds to purchase and operate the Brooklin General Store and used another $70,000 to pay for his daughter’s wedding.

When the owner of the boatyard found out, he confronted Nygren, who admitted to the embezzlement. When asked why he did such a poor job forging signatures, Nygren said, “I didn’t practice,” according to the court document.

In addition to the unauthorized checks, Nygren also made $62,000 worth of unauthorized charges on credit cards assigned to the boatyard. He used those funds, in part, to operate the store and to purchase tickets to sporting events.

Nygren had been in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service even before he was hired by Brooklin Boat Yard. He owed back taxes from 2005 and 2006 for his business and for his personal income tax for 1996 and 1997 and 2005-2009.

The prosecution said Nygren “willfully and purposefully engaged in a course of conduct designed to disguise his income and control his assets.” That included operating the general store under someone else’s name.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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