A Falmouth man who admitted in 2021 that he misrepresented himself as a Department of Homeland Security employee to obtain more than $700,000 worth of equipment for his personal use was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to five years in federal prison.
Joshua Cory Frances, 46, pleaded guilty on Oct. 27, 2021, to one count each of federal program fraud and wire fraud that occurred between September 2015 and 2016. Frances used the money to buy a Land Rover SUV, a 44-foot sailboat and a Boston Whaler with two engines, among other items, according to court documents.
He also falsified positive character reference letters to the court last fall when U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen revoked his bail and ordered that he be detained until his sentencing.
In addition to prison time, Torresen sentenced Frances to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay more than $87,000 in restitution.
Francis faced 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.
Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence range was between 46 and 57 months.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, who prosecuted the case, recommended a sentence of 51 months.
Frances’ attorney, David Bobrow of Eliot, urged the judge to sentence his client to time served, which would have been about five months, and three years of probation.
The bogus letters were submitted in early August, ahead of Frances’ sentencing for the guilty plea entered in October 2021. Frances submitted a 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 think that Frances edited the letters, or if Frances’ third-party preparer, Ash Narayan, did it, according to the Press Herald.
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.