ALFRED — A Scarborough man was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail and ordered to pay back $50,000 he stole from the American Legion in York, money he used to fund two failed Old Port bars.

Ryan J. Byther, 36, convinced the American Legion Post 56 leadership in 2008 that he was an experienced fundraiser and could lead their $2 million fund-raising campaign, according to a statement from Attorney General William Schneider.

But Byther, who had been working as a contractor on a new building project for the veterans service organization, had no fund-raising experience in Maine. He spent the $50,000 retainer given to him by the American Legion on other businesses, namely the Prost Tap House and Club Onyx, which he had opened in Portland’s Old Port in June of 2008, and which closed several months later.

Byther was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial in in February.

A York County Superior Court justice sentenced Byther to five years in prison, with all but six months suspended and three years probation.

“Stealing from this kind of community based organization really takes away from Maine families and neighborhoods,” Schneider said. “This sentence reflects the seriousness and impact of this crime.”

The Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.