A Franklin County man pleaded guilty to fraud Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland for embezzling about $80,000 in federal money intended for construction of low-income housing in Maine.

Timothy Gallagher, 46, of Jay worked as a construction manager for Portland-based Stanford Management LLC in 2014 when he hired a construction company he secretly owned on the side, Harley Construction, to oversee work being done on nine of Stanford’s properties in Maine.

From May 2014 to November 2014, Gallagher directed $251,073 in federal subsidies to Harley Construction, but only paid $171,434 to subcontractors and pocketed the other $79,639, according to a prosecution document filed with the court.

“Over that period of time, the defendant owned Harley. The defendant concealed his ownership of Harley from Stanford and claimed that Harley was owned by Jon Branmeir,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark wrote in the prosecution document.

Stanford Management fired Gallagher in January 2015, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development began investigating him three months later, according to court records.

In an interview with an unnamed Stanford representative, Gallagher allegedly admitted he knew he was required to disclose his interest in Harley Construction, but didn’t because “he saw it as a way to make money by acting as the general contractor on these projects,” according to an affidavit filed by HUD investigator Stephen Tufts.

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Gallagher had told Stanford that while Harley was owned in name by Branmeir, Branmeir was really “a silent partner who does nothing for Harley and does not go to construction sites.”

Investigators interviewed a subcontractor that Gallagher had hired to do some work on the nine housing projects. The subcontractor said Gallagher told him in December that he was afraid he’d be fired and possibly arrested because Stanford had learned he owned Harley. After Gallagher was fired, he asked the subcontractor to pose as Branmeir so Stanford would release money for Harley subcontractors. The subcontractor refused.

A Stanford employee told investigators that in February she met with a man claiming to be Branmeir “from Harley,” but he wouldn’t show identification.

According to Harley’s bank account at Androscoggin Savings Bank, Gallagher was the only authorized signatory. Branmeir was not authorized on the account, according to investigators, and Gallagher is the only one charged in the case.

Gallagher was arrested by federal authorities last Aug. 19 and remained free on a $10,000 unsecured bond after his initial court appearance the same day. Gallagher’s case had been scheduled for trial next week when he decided to change his plea to guilty.

Gallagher is scheduled for sentencing by Judge Nancy Torresen on Aug. 4. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000.

 


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