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April 24, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Judith M. Shaw, Securities Administrator

 

Maine Securities Administrator Announces 10 Year Sentence in Elder Financial Exploitation Case

 

GARDINER - Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw together with Governor Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey announced that Robert Kenneth Lindell was sentenced yesterday in Penobscot County Superior Court to 10 years in prison on fifteen criminal counts involving Theft, Securities Fraud, Intentional Evasion of Maine Income Tax and Failure to Pay Maine Income Tax. Mr. Lindell was convicted by a jury on November 7, 2018.

The state alleged during trial that Mr. Lindell had defrauded two elderly widows out of more than $3 million and failed to pay taxes on the income he earned as a result of the fraud, instead receiving tax refunds he was not entitled to.

In sentencing Mr. Lindell, the judge imposed a maximum prison sentence of 10 years on one theft count, along with a consecutive suspended 7 years on the second theft count and three years of probation. The court imposed 364 day concurrent sentences on the remaining securities fraud and tax charges. The judge also ordered restitution to be paid to the victims in the amount of $750,000, in addition to money already recovered and any money recovered in the future.

"This significant sentence recognizes the real gravity and far-reaching impact elder financial exploitation has on victims," said Administrator Shaw. 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, she added.

Mr. Lindell began acting as a securities agent for a widow from Belfast in the early 2000s. The two met weekly at her home to discuss her finances. He was later named as the widow's power of attorney, co-personal representative of her estate upon her death, and trustee of a trust created for the benefit of her disabled veteran son. Lindell stole money from the widow, from her estate and from the trust by writing checks to himself and his company, paying personal expenses with trust and estate money, and buying, renovating, and ultimately residing in a home in California wine country after purchasing the home with trust money.

The second widow, a resident of France, has known Mr. Lindell since he was born. Mr. Lindell was the trustee of a trust set up for the widows benefit by her late husband. As with the first widow, Lindell wrote checks to himself from her trust account and paid personal expenses using her funds.

Statistics show that as the population continues to age, financial crimes against older adults are on the rise, said Attorney General Frey. My Office is committed to swiftly and effectively prosecuting those individuals that victimize the elderly in Maine.

Governor Mills praised the Office of Securities and the Office of the Attorney General for their work in investigating and prosecuting this case of financial exploitation. Our seniors work hard their entire lives to build a nest egg for their retirement, she said. This kind of crime -- one that robs the elderly of their financial security and independence -- will not be tolerated in Maine, and we will use all of our available resources to bring to justice those who commit despicable acts like these.

The case was investigated by Senior Investigator Cathy Williams of the Maine Office of Securities and Senior Revenue Agent Katherine Eggleston of Maine Revenue Services. Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein prosecuted the case.

Administrator Shaw urges everyone to check the background of any investment professional before agreeing to work with them. Anyone who has questions about investment opportunities or the investment professionals they are working with should contact the Office of Securities. Information about advisers, agents and investing is available at www.investors.maine.gov, by calling 1-877-624-8551 or writing to the Maine Office of Securities, 121 SHS, Augusta, Maine 04333-0121.

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The Office of Securities is an agency within Maine's Department of Professional and Financial Regulation https://www.maine.gov/pfr

Last Updated: April 24, 2019 10:14 AM