Vacuum dealer sentenced to four years on tax charges

A man from Gray who distributed and sold vacuum cleaners but kept the state sales tax for his personal use was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison with all but 18 months suspended.

Nathanial Dupuis, 41, was sentenced in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta after pleading guilty last year to multiple counts of theft by misapplication, intentional sales tax evasion, and failure to truthfully collect, account and pay over sales tax, Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced.

Dupuis also was ordered by the court to repay $86,476 in restitution.

Mills said in a press release that the charges stemmed from Dupuis’ role as a distributor and salesman of Kirby vacuums from 2006 through 2008. Dupuis owned and operated two companies that sold vacuums to other Kirby distributors as well as to the general public. During that time his sales totaled $1 million, which were subject to state sales tax.

According to Mills, Dupuis collected sales tax on the purchases but kept the sales tax money for himself. He used those revenues for personal and business use.

In addition, the state investigated several complaints that were lodged by Dupuis’ customers. Several senior citizens who purchased vacuum cleaners from Dupuis alleged that he failed to deliver the vacuums they purchased and that he failed to refund the purchase price when requested. Dupuis has since made refunds to three customers


Man, 33, is sentenced on marijuana-growing charges

A Monroe man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to running a marijuana-growing operation out of his parents’ home.

Paul Ford, 33, and three other family members were involved in marijuana growing from about 2006 to 2011, according to court records.

The records said Ford also ran a separate marijuana-growing operation at his home in Swanville.

Police said they seized 300 marijuana plants and 10 pounds of processed pot, together worth about $800,000, on Nov. 16, 2011, from Ford’s parents’ home in Monroe.

Ford, sentenced Monday, will be on supervised release for five years after prison.


Maine researchers among groups to get NOAA funding

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it will award $16.5 million to 14 organizations for research projects about Atlantic sea scallops.

NOAA’S Northeast Cooperative Research Program announced the grants Tuesday. The researchers are from Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, and Virginia and will work on a total of 16 projects.

The award winners include universities, nonprofit foundations, a fish hatchery, commercial fishing vessels, and a state fisheries agency.

NOAA says the money for the awards comes from selling a portion of the annual sea scallop quota that is set aside for this purpose.

One project will allow researchers in East Falmouth, Massachusetts, to test gear to reduce the bycatch of flatfish.

Another will allow Maine researchers to assess sea scallop distribution and abundance in federal and state waters in the Gulf of Maine.

– From staff and news services