Scarborough Man Convicted Of Stealing From American Legion

February 29, 2012

AUGUSTA ? Attorney General William J. Schneider announced that Ryan J. Byther, age 36, of Scarborough, was found guilty today of stealing $50,000 from the American Legion Post 56 of York. After a two day trial, a York County Superior Court jury returned a guilty verdict on a one-count indictment that charged Byther with Class B Theft by Deception.

Byther, a general contractor working for the American Legion on a new building project in early 2008, represented to Legion officials that he was an experienced professional fundraiser and could manage their $2 million fundraising campaign. Evidence introduced at trial showed that Byther had no fundraising experience and had never been licensed as a professional fundraiser in Maine.

As a result of his deception, Byther obtained a $50,000 retainer from the American Legion in March, 2008. Byther never raised any funds for the Legion. Instead, he spent the $50,000 on his other business pursuits and expenses, including the Prost Tap House and Club Onyx, a bar and nightclub that Byther opened in the Old Port of Portland in June of 2008 and that failed several months later.

?By intentionally creating the false impression that he was a professional fundraiser and would use this money solely for fundraising activities, Mr. Byther deceived the American Legion,? said Attorney General Schneider. ?We are pleased to get a guilty verdict for this theft from a community veterans organization that provides programs and resources to so many in the York area.?

Byther will be sentenced on May 29, 2012 and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years of incarceration.

This case was investigated by the Attorney General?s Investigations Unit and the York Police Department. Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Colleran handled this matter for Attorney General Schneider?s Criminal Division.