January 3

N.H. gunpowder plant owner will fight fraud charge in Maine

The man plans to appeal his conviction in connection with a 2010 explosion that killed two workers.

The Associated Press

LANCASTER, N.H. – A gunpowder plant owner sentenced to at least a decade in prison over a 2010 explosion that killed two workers in New Hampshire is planning an appeal.

Craig Sanborn of Maidstone, Vt., was convicted in October of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison and his bail was revoked.

The Caledonian Record reported that records at Coos County Superior Court show the 64-year-old Sanborn filed a notice to appeal the conviction. And in a separate case in federal court, recent filings show he intends to take a felony wire fraud charge to trial in Maine, where he opened a munitions plant in Brownsville, called X-Ring.

Prosecutors said Sanborn was reckless in manufacturing, testing and storing the black powder and failed to adequately train workers at the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, where an explosion killed 56-year-old Donald Kendall of Colebrook, and 49-year-old Jesse Kennett of Stratford.

Sanborn’s lawyer said his client was out of town and noted the explosion could have been caused by various scenarios, including employee error or a stray piece of metal creating friction inside a machine.

In Maine, an indictment alleges Sanborn fraudulently obtained $300,000 in community development block grant money for the munitions plant. He is accused of seeking public financing from the town and devising “a scheme to defraud and obtain money by false and fraudulent representations” by providing false invoices for equipment never received.

On Dec. 3, Chief U.S District Judge John Woodcock in Maine granted Sanborn’s motion to continue the trial from January to February.

According to Woodcock’s order, “The parties in this case have been discussing a settlement in light of the defendant’s recent conviction in New Hampshire.”

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