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A man who falsely inflated a road contractor’s costs, causing the Maine Department of Transportation to overpay for a Gardiner bridge project by $91,000, was sentenced Tuesday to one year of probation.

Jim Wentworth, 52, of Sidney pleaded guilty in June to one count of highway program fraud. He has been free on personal recognizance bail since then.

In addition to probation, U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock ordered Wentworth to pay a $35,000 fine and $90,000 in restitution, which was paid prior to the sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

In May of 2019, Wentworth was the project manager for a general contractor on a Maine Department of Transportation bridge project in Gardiner, according to the prosecution’s version of events, to which he admitted. The project was funded, in part, through federal highway funds provided through the Federal Highway Administration and approved by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s office.

Wentworth received an itemized cost list from a subcontractor, and then falsely inflated the costs on the subcontractor’s letterhead, according to federal prosecutors.

By pleading guilty, Wentworth admitted that he used this falsified cost list in preparing a contract modification through which his employer received a payment of its costs plus an agreed-upon percentage. Wentworth’s conduct caused the Department of Transportation to overpay the general contractor by about $91,000.

Wentworth did not benefit financially from the fraud, according to his attorney, Richard Berne of Portland.

He acted “in an effort to minimize the loss that resulted from unforeseen cost overruns and insufficiently compensated overhead expenses it incurred in managing the work of its subcontractor,” Berne said in his sentencing memorandum.

Wentworth admitted to his conduct to transportation department employees and his employer, and apologized for it. He was not fired but was stripped of $30,000 in bonuses, according to court documents.

In a letter to Woodcock, Wentworth apologized and asked for mercy.

“I take full responsibility for my action in this case and am so sorry to have brought this insult upon my wife, children, friends, work colleagues and the United States of America,” Wentworth said. “I never intended to hurt anyone, though I understand that a crime has been committed and with that comes punishment. I stand before you today, humbly asking for mercy.”

Wentworth “assured the court that consistent with his otherwise exemplary life he will never run afoul of the law again,” Berne said after the sentencing.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Wentworth, who had no criminal history, faced up to six months in prison and a fine of between $4,000 and $40,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s office recommended a sentence at the low end of the guideline range but not a specific number of months. Berne urged the judge to sentence Wentworth to probation.