AUGUSTA (AP) – An Oakland woman who headed an oil distribution company is being sent to jail for seven months and must pay $268,000 in restitution to the state after pleading guilty to several charges in a case in which fuel customers were left without prepaid deliveries.

Kathleen Thompson pleaded guilty in June to three felony counts of negotiating worthless checks and three misdemeanor counts of failing to pay collected fuel taxes to the state while she was president of Petroleum Products Cooperative of Maine Inc.

The company, also known as PPCOM, provided gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil to retailers and other customers such as municipalities and school districts.

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills sentenced Thompson on Monday to three years in jail, with all but seven months suspended.

She was also ordered to pay restitution to the state and perform 600 hours of community service work.

Attorney General Steven Rowe said Wednesday that audits conducted in 2005 and 2006 revealed that the Thompson’s company had failed to pay nearly $3 million in fuel taxes to the state between 2001 and 2005.

An investigation showed that in order to try to keep the company afloat, Thompson wrote a number of large checks from an account that had no money in a “kiting” scheme, Assistant Attorney General William Baghdoyan said.

Thompson was president, treasurer and majority stockholder of PPCOM. A few months after the fuel tax liability was discovered, some customers who had prepaid fuel delivery contracts were left without fuel for vehicles and heating.

AP-ES-08-22-07 1729EDT

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