ROCKLAND — Criminal charges are anticipated soon against the former head of a Camden area charity accused of stealing $3.8 million from the organization.

Those charges could come within the next few weeks, according to Attorney Peter DeTroy, who represents Russell “Rusty” Brace.

DeTroy submitted a motion Monday in Knox County Superior Court asking for another extension to file a response to the civil lawsuit filed against Brace by United Mid-Coast Charities Inc. The motion asks for an extension until March 6.

In his motion, the defense attorney says the extension is needed because of the ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Criminal charges have not been filed but are anticipated, the defense lawyer said in the court paperwork. He said he has been in discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the case is progressing.

The revelation that Brace had stolen the money from United Mid-Coast Charities became public Sept. 29, four days after charity leaders said Brace admitted to taking numerous, and sometimes large, checks earmarked for the charity and depositing them in his Brace Management Account at the First, NA.

DeTroy has received two prior extensions since the civil lawsuit was filed. He argued that to respond before charges are filed could implicate Brace in the parallel criminal probe.


The court already has agreed to freeze Brace’s bank accounts and attach liens of up to $3.8 million on his properties in Camden, Rockport and Rangeley. The properties since have been put up for sale in an effort to resolve the claims against his client. None of the properties had been sold as of Monday.

In the suit it filed in October, the Camden-based charity contended that Brace embezzled $3.8 million from the organization from 2001 through August 2014 while he served as the board’s volunteer president.

He stepped down as president on Aug. 20, a position he had held for 17 years. A few weeks later, when a charity member attempted to solicit a donation from a local resident, that donor indicated he already had made three donations through Brace totaling $75,000, according to an affidavit filed with the lawsuit. There were no records of those donations, however, and when confronted on Sept. 25, Brace admitted to taking the money for his own use, the lawsuit alleges.

Brace is founder and president of Brace Management Group Inc. of Camden, according to filings with the Maine secretary of state. He has served on local boards over the years and was named Townsperson of the Year in 2005 by the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce. He ran unsuccessfully in 1984 as a Republican candidate for the state Senate to represent Knox County.

Stephen Crane, who was appointed president of the charity’s board after Brace stepped down, said Monday that he awaits action by the federal prosecutors against Brace like everyone else.

Crane said the board should be hearing a report next week from banker Jack Williams on how the nonprofit organization can change its procedures to assure that such financial misconduct will not recur.

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