BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Thousands flock to the Queen City to celebrate the 4th of July. This year will be no different, but it has not been easy. The Bangor 4th of July Corporation and Breakfast Kiwanis club put on the day's events. But last year they realized more than 140 thousand dollars was stolen and it was both non-profits former treasurer. Bruce Fowle was sentenced to fifteen months in jail and ordered to pay back $50,000 in restitution.
Fowle plead guilty last month, under a plea bargain. Justice William Anderson decided the plea deal was not a strong enough sentence for the crime. The original deal was a nine month sentence and to pay $10,000 in restitution.
The former treasurer and CPA stole the money over the last decade. Since the missing funds were discovered last July the non-profits have been scrambling to make up for the large sum missing.
The money is used not only for community events, but it helps underprivileged and terminally ill kids. President of Bangor's 4th of July Corporation, Tony Bernatche, described the embezzlement as crippling to both organizations.
Bernatche said, "There's no amount of sentence that is going to repair the damage that has been done to the community on behalf of the two organizations it was embezzled form. The damage is done no monetary damage can correct the damage no time in jail can correct the damage."
According to Bernatche, both non-profits have implemented new ways to handle money for both organizations to ensure this does not happen again.
"We are very relieved to have this over with, it's been a challenge this year trying to recoup or reorganize the both charities and we have done that. We have done that extremely well. And I'm very pleased with the way both organizations are operating. It's nice to have this one last thing off my plate," said Bernatche.
The organizations owe their gratitude to the community, members said many businesses have donated large sums to help fill the void. Despite the hardships, Bernatche said Bangor will be able to enjoy its biggest fireworks show yet.