PORTLAND — An Auburn man on Friday was convicted of bankruptcy fraud, accused of lying about the sale of three airplanes in an attempt to hide $450,000 from his bankruptcy estate.
Maurice Roundy, 65, was convicted in a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Portland. He could be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison and/or fined up to $250,000.
The case against him goes back to 2005, when Roundy sold three Lockheed Super Constellation Starliners. At the time, only four of the celebrated planes — they once were used to ferry West Germany’s chancellor — were left in the world. Roundy kept two of them, with 150-foot wingspans, on his property next to the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport. There, the public could view the planes as they passed or arrange for an up-close view.
Roundy kept a third Starliner at the Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk City, Fla.
In October 2005, Roundy and his wife, Jane Theberge, filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. At the time, according to court records, Roundy was sole owner of Maine Coast Airways.
In his bankruptcy filings, Roundy claimed that, months before filing for bankruptcy, he had sold his three planes and related equipment to a purchaser in Florida for $20,000. He claimed to have no purchase agreement for the sale.
In June 2007, in a proceeding relating to the bankruptcy case, Roundy filed an affidavit stating that his airline company had entered into a purchase agreement in which the Constellation aircraft were sold for $500,000, although Roundy claimed that the Florida man who bought the planes did not make the promised payments.
That contradiction was the basis for the federal government’s charges against Roundy. Prosecutors argued that Roundy lied when he said he had no purchase agreement of the transaction and that he concealed money from the sale from his estate.
The FBI investigated. Roundy was indicted in December 2010. After he was convicted Friday, he was released on bail pending a pre-sentencing investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
Roundy could not be located Friday night for comment.
The legal trouble that followed the sale of the three aircraft was not the first for Roundy. In the 1980s, he was convicted of drug smuggling, accused of flying 700 pounds of Colombian cocaine into Alabama. He later lost an appeal and was sent to prison for 11 years. It was not clear Friday night how much time he served.
The three aircraft that formed the center of Roundy’s legal troubles were subsequently recovered and later sold at auction to Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung for $680,000.