March 30, 2020
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Nurse accused of bilking $274,000 from elderly Maine couple cuts deal to serve 2 days in jail

Amber Waterman | BDN
Amber Waterman | BDN
Amy McLellan (right) and designer/build contractor Dick Campbell talk about the layout a two-bedroom apartment in The McLellan, a residence for seniors 62 and older, in Brunswick in this October 2016 file photo.

PORTLAND, Maine — A critical care nurse who formerly worked at Mid Coast Hospital and Central Maine Medical Center pleaded guilty to felony misuse of entrusted property on Friday, but under a deferred disposition that charge will be dismissed if she complies with court-ordered conditions.

Amy McLellan, 61, of Brunswick was indicted in August 2018 on charges of Class B felony misuse of entrusted property of a vulnerable person more than $10,000 and Class B theft by unauthorized taking more than $10,000.

Police said she bilked an elderly couple out of $274,000 in an effort to finance a “boutique” senior housing complex that has opened in the former Brunswick Hospital at the corner of Union and Cumberland streets.

McLellan purchased the building — more recently the Skofield House nursing home — for just more than $1 million in August 2016. She renovated the building into an upscale elderly living complex with on-site skilled nursing care.

In October 2017, the Brunswick Police Department seized computers and records from McLellan’s residence in the building after police said an employee had reported seeing evidence of alleged financial irregularities to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Brunswick police Cmdr. Mark Waltz wrote in a request for a search warrant that he learned from interviewing the alleged victims that they met McLellan while the husband, 89 at the time, was her patient at CMMC. McLellan allegedly visited him while he stayed at several rehabilitation facilities in the Lewiston-Auburn area and then at their Auburn home.

According to the affidavit, in April 2016, while the man was at Clover Manor in Auburn, he executed a general power of attorney naming McLellan as his agent.

His wife, who was 92 at the time, told Waltz that her husband, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, had been “in love” with McLellan and that she had seen McLellan kiss him on the lips.

Prosecutors said McLellan ultimately convinced the man to drain his savings account to allow her to finance the assisted living complex in Brunswick.

Waltz wrote that McLellan had taken approximately 60 percent of the couple’s net worth, and had used the initial $200,000 from the alleged victims as collateral for a $1.6 million mortgage from Norway Savings Bank.

Last week, McLellan paid the remainder of restitution owed to the victims — $100,000, Assistant District Attorney Amanda Doherty wrote in an email to the Bangor Daily News.

The plea agreement, which Doherty said was reached “after lengthy negotiations and input from the court,” includes McLellan pleading guilty to Class C felony misuse of entrusted property and receiving a one-year deferred disposition. The Class B charge of theft by unauthorized taking of more than $10,000 was dismissed, Doherty said.

If McLellan complies with the conditions of the deferred disposition, which “will help her monitor her business and dealings with the elderly,” and has no new criminal conduct, the felony will be dismissed and she will plead guilty to Class D misdemeanor misuse of entrusted property. She would be sentenced to 364 days in jail, with all but 2 days suspended, and one year of probation.

If McLellan does not comply with the deferred disposition, the court can impose any lawful sentence on the felony charge, Doherty said.

Doherty said the initial and primary victim died while the case was being prosecuted and was thus unavailable to testify, “which was one of the significant factors that had to be considered when reaching this final resolution.”

Waltz said Friday that such cases are challenging because the victim often dies before the case gets to trial, “which makes it more difficult for the DA’s office to hold people accountable, to an extent.”

“The good thing is, she is going to do some jail time, and she did pay back more of the money the victim lost,” he said. “The most important thing is that she will now have a criminal record, so someone who does their homework will learn that and take caution as they have dealings with her.”

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Correction: The headline on an earlier version of this report incorrectly referred to Amy McLellan as a former nurse.

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