A Falmouth man who pleaded guilty to accusations that he posed as a U.S. Department  of Homeland Security employee to fraudulently   purchase  boats and a car is now being accused of providing false reference letters to a judge.

Joshua Cory Frances, 45, pleaded guilty to one count each of federal program fraud and wire fraud that occurred between September 2015 and 2016 while appearing remotely in U.S. District Court in Portland on Oct. 27, 2021. He admitted that he misrepresented himself as a Department of Homeland Security employee to obtain more than $700,000 worth of equipment for his personal use, including a Land Rover SUV, a 44-foot sailboat and a Boston Whaler with two engines.

He has now been accused of submitting a number of falsified or misleading letters as reference material prior to his sentencing,  the Portland Press Herald reported. The letters, which were submitted as being dictated by family members, friends and former colleagues, reportedly contained information that falsely represented Frances’ background and character.

The letters were submitted in early August, ahead of Frances’ sentencing for the guilty plea entered in October 2021. Frances submitted one nine-page letter that he had written, along with nearly a dozen letters dictated by family, friends and former colleagues to a third-party transcriber, the Portland newspaper reported.

A handful of letters are believed to have been digitally altered before being submitted for review. It is not clear whether officials believe that Frances edited the letters, or if Frances’ third-party preparer, Ash Narayan, edited the letters, according to the Press Herald.

There were reportedly a number of differences between the letters Narayan sent to Frances and the letters that were submitted to the court, with several instances of falsified information being added to the letters, according to a special agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General who is reviewing the materials.

The falsified information reportedly ranged from untrue details about Frances’ parent’s health conditions and misidentified public office positions to a claim that Frances had been asked to visit former President Barack Obama at the White House, which could not be verified.

Frances’ attorney, Walt McKee, filed to withdraw from the case on Aug. 15, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Frances’ bail, which had been set at $50,000 in 2021, was revoked by U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen after an arrest warrant was issued last Wednesday. A sentencing date for Frances’ initial plea has not been set. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and up to 10 years in prison on the federal program fraud charge. In addition, he could be fined up to $250,000.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.