Ex-Frankfort lawmaker gets 10 years in prison for stealing $3 million from elderly widows

By J. Craig Anderson, Portland Press Herald | Apr 24, 2019
Kenneth Lindell

Former Maine lawmaker Robert Kenneth Lindell has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for what authorities have described as one of the worst cases of elder financial abuse they’ve seen in the state.

According to the Maine Office of Securities, Lindell was sentenced Tuesday in Penobscot County Superior Court on 15 criminal counts including theft, securities fraud and income tax evasion for defrauding two elderly widows out of more than $3 million and failing to pay income taxes on his ill-gotten gains. Lindell was convicted of the crimes by a jury on Nov. 7.

The judge also ordered Lindell to pay $750,000 in restitution to his victims, in addition to money already recovered and any money recovered in the future, the office said in a news release.

“This significant sentence recognizes the real gravity and far-reaching impact elder financial exploitation has on victims,” office administrator Judith Shaw said in the release. “Mr. Lindell used his position of trust to groom and prey on his victims and we will not tolerate that from anyone, especially our licensed financial professionals.”

Prosecutors said Lindell began acting as a securities agent for Phyllis Poor of Belfast in the early 2000s and eventually was given Poor’s power of attorney and named co-personal representative of her estate and trustee of accounts for her disabled veteran son. Poor died in 2012.

Lindell used his access to Poor’s finances to write checks to himself and his company from the accounts of Poor’s estate, paying personal expenses with trust and estate money. He also bought, renovated and lived in a home in California wine country with money from Poor’s accounts.

Lindell also stole from a trust set up for Poor’s son, a disabled veteran who lives in an assisted-living facility in Florida, according to prosecutors.

Lindell’s second victim, Gianna Lewis, lives outside Paris and has known Lindell since he was born, according to prosecutors. Lindell was the trustee for accounts set up for Lewis’ benefit by her late husband, and Lindell was convicted of writing himself checks from her account and paying his personal expenses with the money.

Prosecutors said Lindell also failed to pay taxes on the money he took from the widows’ accounts and received tax refunds to which he wasn’t entitled.

Lindell lived in Cloverdale, California, before his bail was revoked in May 2018. He still owned property in Frankfort, where he served two terms as a Republican state legislator from 2004 to 2008, when he was defeated in a re-election bid.

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