March 1, 2013

Ex-prosecutor who fled Maine printed fake checks

Court documents reveal how James Cameron planned to pay expenses when he fled to New Mexico.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Court documents filed this week shed light on how James Cameron, a former Maine drug prosecutor who was convicted on child pornography charges, planned to pay his expenses when he fled from Maine to New Mexico last fall.

According to an affidavit in U.S. District Court in New Mexico seeking permission to search Cameron's car, computer and other items, he printed two phony checks totaling $74,000 using an insurance account tied to a small online business, Corvus Watch Co.

A check for $42,000 was to be deposited into a Chase Bank account in Cameron's name. A check for $32,000 was sent from an unknown address to the Maine State Credit Union for deposit in another account belonging to Cameron.

Cameron reportedly printed both on blank or pre-printed checks that he bought from a company, Advantage Laser Products, on Nov. 8 -- one week before he cut off his electronic monitoring device and fled from his home in Rome.

The checks were immediately suspected of being fraudulent and were not processed, according to the affidavit.

The document says Cameron used his ATM card at several locations in Arizona on Nov. 28 and 29, which helped federal agents close in on his whereabouts.

Cameron was arrested on Dec. 2 in Albuquerque, N.M., as he left the bathroom of a bookstore.

Last week, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland to one count of contempt of court related to his escape. He awaits sentencing on that charge and resentencing on six counts of child pornography.

Cameron fled one day after the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston vacated seven of his 13 convictions but upheld the other six.

Cameron was free on bail while the court considered his appeal, but had conditions including a curfew and electronic monitoring.

He will be sentenced on the contempt charge in the next three to five months. The resentencing on the child pornography counts has not been scheduled, but could happen in conjunction with contempt sentence.

The six remaining child pornography counts could get Cameron five to 20 years in prison. The one count of criminal contempt could warrant a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Cameron, who was an assistant attorney general in Maine for 18 years, was fired in April 2008, four months after Maine State Police started investigating his Internet activity. He was targeted after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that multiple images of child pornography were found in a Yahoo account that belonged to his wife.

After he was fired, Cameron and his brother founded Corvus Watch Co., an online venture to sell and procure replica timepieces.

Cameron's interest in watches went back much further. In fact, one way police found that Cameron was accessing child pornography is because numerous Internet searches about watches were mixed in with searches of child pornography.

Cameron was found guilty in 2010 on 13 counts of possession and transmission of child pornography. He was sentenced in 2011 to 16 years in prison. He served about a year before being released pending his appeal.

He is being held in the Strafford County Jail in New Hampshire until his resentencing.

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

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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