BANGOR, Maine — A former Maine legislator accused of defrauding an elderly Belfast woman out of more than $2 million pleaded not guilty Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to one count of theft by unauthorized taking and to an intentional and knowing securities violation.
Robert Kenneth Lindell Jr., 52, of Cloverdale, California, was released Wednesday after posting an $85,000 property bond secured with real estate in Frankfort.
He served in the Maine House of Representatives as a Republican from 2004 to 2008, when he was defeated in his re-election bid, according to BDN archives. At the time he served in the Legislature, Lindell lived on the Frankfort property he posted as bail. He represented the towns of Frankfort, Orland, Prospect, Searsport, Stockton Springs and Verona Island.
Lindell, a securities broker licensed in Maine and California, is accused of bilking the money from the victim, who died in June 2012 at the age of 92, and from her estate and life insurance payout. He had co-power of attorney for the woman and was co-personal representative for her estate, according to court documents. Others who had power of attorney and were personal representatives are not named in court documents.
The victim’s estate was valued at approximately $4.4 million after taxes, fees and administration costs, according to court documents. Insurance payments added about $1.1 million to the value of the estate.
He allegedly stole more than $10,000 from the victim between June 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2016, when Lindell had an office in Bangor, the indictment said. The securities violation allegedly occurred between June 1, 2010, and March 31, 2012.
Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein, who is prosecuting the case, and defense attorney Matthew Morgan of Augusta, who is representing Lindell, declined to comment Wednesday.
Lindell, who moved to California in mid-2014, was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury March 1 but the indictment was sealed until Wednesday, when he made his first court appearance with Morgan. The reasons the Maine attorney general’s office asked to seal the court documents included the possibility that Lindell might flee to France, where he was born, if he learned of the indictment through media reports.
Bail conditions included that he turn his passport over to the court and not act in any fiduciary, trustee or representative capacity in any matter for any clients.
Lindell’s Maine Securities disciplinary record included a 2002 action for grouping client investments contrary to clients’ wishes and not being truthful about account balances, according to court documents. The record also included a 2013 action for engaging in unlawful, dishonest or unethical securities practices. Both actions ended in consent orders, court documents said.
He is next due in court on June 13.
If convicted, Lindell faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the Class B theft charge and up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the Class C securities violation charge. He also could be ordered to pay restitution to the estate.