A former Maine Medical Center employee who impersonated a Homeland Security officer and used that false identity to steal from the hospital is set to be sentenced after new fraud charges were filed last year.

Joshua Cory Frances, 45, originally pleaded guilty to crimes that involved buying two boats under false pretenses and using $14,000 from Maine Medical Center funds to transport those boats from California to Maine.

He was scheduled to be sentenced last August, but then federal investigators discovered that several letters Frances submitted to the court that month, testifying to his character and requesting a short sentence, were likely fraudulent.

Frances signed a new plea agreement this month. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed not to prosecute Frances for the letters – in exchange, he is foregoing his right to appeal any sentence that is less than 51 months. His previous agreement would have set that bar at 24 months.

Frances faces up to 30 years in federal prison and is now scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 8. He is also agreeing to pay more than $50,000 in restitution to several organizations, including the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Medical Center and the towns of Falmouth and Brunswick.

Frances was the director of emergency preparedness for Maine Medical Center from 2015 until he was fired in August 2016 for misspending hospital funds and other “inappropriate behavior,” according to a criminal complaint. He also was the head of Maine Task Force One, a group of physician assistants and EMTs who provided emergency medical services at events, including air shows and the Maine Lobster Dip in Old Orchard Beach.


Maine Task Force One is not a law enforcement agency, but Frances repeatedly used his government email address to identify himself as an employee of the federal Department of Homeland Security, according to court records.

That’s how he was able to buy a Boston Whaler, a sailboat and two marine outboard engines from a federal agency handling excess Department of Defense property. In Frances’ plea, he also agreed to forfeit the boats.

Frances was indicted in September 2020 on six charges. He pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one count each of federal program fraud and wire fraud, saying nothing at the time but later writing a letter to the court that he was “heartbroken and embarrassed” by his actions.

Days after his sentencing was canceled in August, a new affidavit was filed, alleging that Frances submitted about a dozen letters misrepresenting his history and credentials, purportedly written by real friends, former colleagues and family members.

Some of Frances’ letters were written by a “third party contractor,” who interviewed Frances’ friends over the phone and helped write their letters for them, according to the affidavit. The contractor was identified in the filing as Ash Narayan, a former financial adviser and disbarred attorney in California who was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison on fraud charges.

Narayan turned over copies of nine letters to federal officials, all of which Narayan wrote on Frances’ behalf after phone interviews with Frances’ family, his counselor and former coworkers.


Narayan told investigators that he sent the letters to Frances in April and June 2022, assuming that Frances would forward each letter to the person it was signed by for review. Comparing the letters Narayan sent Frances to those that were submitted to the court, Special Agent Michael Ryan from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General said he identified several changes that added false information.

One letter appeared to misrepresent the health of Frances’ mother, whose name also was spelled incorrectly. Another letter, allegedly from Frances’ father, falsely stated Frances had testified before Congress as a “leading expert at Harvard School of Public Health” and that he had been invited to the White House by former President Barack Obama.

Another letter was signed by a “Director of Homeland Security for the state of Maryland.” Such a position does not exist, according to the affidavit.

As Ryan was investigating the letters, Frances wrote to his friends and family in an email on Aug. 4, telling them that they did not have to speak to the court or government.

“Hi gang,” Frances’ email began. “I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the letter of support you provided.” He went on to say that his attorney at the time “wanted me to simply give you a gentle reminder” that they did not have to speak to the court or the government, even to verify that they wrote the letters.

“You are under no obligation to speak to them in any capacity,” Frances wrote. “I’d appreciate if you would heed his expert advice on this.”


Frances’ attorney at the time, Walt McKee, withdrew from Frances’ case shortly after Frances sent that email. McKee told the Press Herald in September that he never offered Frances that advice.

Frances was arrested in September, having previously been released from jail to wait for his sentencing out of federal custody. On Dec. 1, a federal judge denied Frances’ request to participate in a “therapeutic community program” at Strafford County Jail, saying that Frances failed to demonstrate he had struggled significantly with addiction and that “introducing a low-needs individual into an intensive recovery program can have a demoralizing effect on individuals who are struggling with severe substance use disorder.”

Frances’ current attorney, David Bobrow, took over his case on Sept. 15. Bobrow said neither he nor Frances have any comment on the letters or the plea agreement. Both Frances and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are expected to file new sentencing recommendations to the court by Feb. 2.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment Friday on the new plea agreement.

Comments are not available on this story.