Preview: Maine.gov Press Releases
Maine.gov Press Releases
Official press releases from State of Maine agencies.
Copyright: Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.
Governor Halts Maine Military Authority Contract Pending More Details
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:45:38 EDT
For Immediate Release: Friday, September 23, 2016
Contact: Susan Faloon, Special Projects Coordinator/Public Information Office, Maine Emergency Management Agency (207) 624-4420 Cell: (207) 592-6201
AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today announced that it has recently come to his attention that a contract executed by the Maine Military Authority (MMA) was underbid, resulting in unexpected costs to Maine taxpayers and putting good-paying jobs at Loring Development Authority in jeopardy.
Governor LePage has major concerns and expects more details in the coming weeks to become available about MMA's $19 million contract with Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MTBA).
"While we continue to work toward reducing costs as we renegotiate the contract terms, we must be reassured about the continuation of this contract as we move forward. We cannot in good faith create a financial burden to taxpayers and we will work to protect these good jobs for Mainers," said Brigadier General Douglas A. Farnham, who serves as Adjutant General, Maine National Guard and also as Commissioner for the Department of Defense. "We intend to personally discuss the issue with MMA staff and Massachusetts officials and act appropriately."
The Maine Military Authority, an instrument of the State of Maine with manufacturing operations and more than 50 employees in Limestone, entered into the contract in late 2014 to refurbish 32 articulated transit buses for MBTA.
Secretary Dunlap releases animated version of Maine Voter Guide
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:37:12 EDT
AUGUSTA - As the General Election nears, the Department of the Secretary of State is getting animated about encouraging voter participation. Today, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is unveiling two animated videos that explain the process of voting in Maine.
"Maine Voter Guide Part 1: Registering to Vote" and "Maine Voter Guide Part 2: Casting Your Ballot" are based on the State of Maine Voter Guide, which is also available as text on the Secretary of State's Elections Division website at http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/voterguide.html
"The process of registering to vote and actually casting your ballot can be daunting, particularly for new voters," said Secretary Dunlap. "Our hope is that these animated videos will make it more interesting and fun to learn about the process, which will ultimately encourage citizens to get registered and make their voices heard at the ballot box."
Each video is approximately three minutes long and they are now available on the Voter Information section of the department website at http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/index.html
, as well as the department's YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnZ7LSdDcYOIbCQgSeAwisQ
. Part 1 explains the process and requirements for voter registration, while Part 2 covers in-person voting and absentee ballots, accessible voting technology and more.
Secretary Dunlap narrates the animations, which include subtitles. The animations were created in-house, using the GoAnimate web-based animation software.
Maker of Opioid Addiction Treatment Drug Suboxone Accused of Conspiring to Keep Monopoly Profits
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:04:46 EDT
AUGUSTA - Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills and 35 other attorneys general today filed an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, over allegations that the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and cause purchasers to pay artificially high prices.
Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, is accused of conspiring with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives and maintain monopoly profits.
Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat heroin addiction and other opioid addictions by easing addiction cravings. No generic alternative is currently available. The companies are accused of violating state and federal antitrust laws.
"It is difficult to overstate the effects of artificially inflating the cost of a drug that could ease Maine's opiate addiction epidemic," said Attorney General Mills. "People will quite literally die because they cannot afford an effective form of treatment. It is unconscionable that in the midst of an epidemic this would be happening. I look forward to working with my colleagues in these other states to hold this manufacturer accountable."
According to the lawsuit, when Reckitt introduced Suboxone in 2002 (in tablet form), it had exclusivity protection that lasted for seven years, meaning no generic version could enter the market during that time. Before that period ended, however, Reckitt worked with MonoSol to create a new version of Suboxone - a dissolvable film, similar in size to a breath strip. Over time, Reckitt allegedly converted the market away from the tablet to the film through marketing, price adjustments, and other methods. Ultimately, after the majority of Suboxone prescriptions were written for the film, Reckitt removed the tablet from the U.S. market.
The attorneys general allege that this conduct was illegal "product hopping," where a company makes modest changes to its product to extend patent protections so other companies can't enter the market and offer cheaper generic alternatives. According to the suit, the Suboxone film provided no real benefit over the tablet and Reckitt continued to sell the tablets in other countries even after removing them from the U.S. market. Reckitt also allegedly expressed unfounded safety concerns about the tablet version and intentionally delayed FDA approval of generic versions of Suboxone.
As a result, the attorneys general allege that consumers and purchasers have paid artificially high monopoly prices since late 2009, when generic alternatives of Suboxone might otherwise have become available. During that time, annual sales of Suboxone topped $1 billion.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Pennsylvania, accuses the companies of violating the federal Sherman Act and state laws. Counts include conspiracy to monopolize and illegal restraint of trade. In the suit, the attorneys general ask the court to stop the companies from engaging in anticompetitive conduct, to restore competition, and to order appropriate relief for consumers and the states, plus costs and fees.
First Family Food Drive Postponed Due to Blaine House Maintenance and Repair
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:35:17 EDT
For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 22, 2016
Contact: Barbara Claudel, Blaine House Director, 207-624-7500
AUGUSTA - Maintenance and repair at the Blaine House will delay the Sixth Annual First Family Food Drive that helps fellow Mainers who are less fortunate. Construction on the roof, driveway and entrances is scheduled for October and November. Therefore, the food drive will take place in April 2017.
Every fall, the First Family invites the public to visit the Blaine House on Saturdays in an effort to help raise food donations for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. The First Family Food Drive began in 2011. Since then, thousands of pounds of food for pantries and shelters across Maine has been collected and donated.
"We continue to encourage Mainers to donate to their local food pantries around the holidays, but it is equally important to give back to your community year round," said Governor LePage "It's important the First Lady and I give back to the people of Maine, and we will hold the food drive this spring."
Friends of the Blaine House is a non-profit entity that works continuously to preserve this historical landmark and active museum visited by thousands each year. Funds collected from the Friends of the Blaine House along with state allocated funds will be used for the Blaine House maintenance and repair.
This spring, Mainers again will be encouraged to bring food donations, get a tour of the Blaine House led by Governor LePage and enjoy light refreshments.
Portland City Clerk Katherine Jones Presented with Lorraine M. Fleury Award at Secretary of State's 2016 State Elections Conference
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:06:03 EDT
NEWRY, Maine - Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap presented Portland City Clerk Kathy Jones with the prestigious Lorraine M. Fleury Award at the beginning of the second day of the Maine State Elections Administration Conference at the Sunday River complex in Newry on Thursday.
Each year, the Secretary of State solicits nominations for the award, named for long-time state Director of Elections Lorraine M. Fleury. The department presents the award to recognize and honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the election process and who exemplifies the qualities of fairness, experience, knowledge and service.
"The integrity and efficiency of the election process depends almost entirely on the devoted service of municipal elections officials," said Dunlap. "It's always a challenge to single any one of them out, but the acknowledgement and praise from co-workers, neighbors, colleagues, and the elected officials who also serve our communities makes this an incredibly gratifying process."
Jones serves as the city clerk for Maine's largest city. This in itself presents unique challenges, but her nominations described the energy and devotion that she has shown in constantly implementing better ways to serve the public, and looking for new ideas through her wide and varied service on a number of Clerk's Associations and on the Elections Working Group. In April of 2015, Jones attended the United States Elections Assistance Commission meeting, joining Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn in representing the State of Maine.
One of Kathy's many accomplishments as city clerk is her commitment to researching, learning and successfully facilitating Portland's first-ever Ranked Choice Voting system for the mayoral election in 2011. She has expertly implemented plans for redistricting, polling place relocation, local citizen initiatives, and assisting candidates, as well as directing and training a workforce of more than 200 election workers and office staff. During election seasons, her application of split shifts with office staff, facilitating improvements for processing absentee ballots, and the creation and implementation of a detailed training manual for elections has maximized the success and minimized the stress of the process.
Jones has fluently conducted Portland's election processes while also performing all of the other duties assigned to a city clerk, and has done so "with ultimate professionalism while always being able to keep her great sense of humor," according to one of her nominators.
"Kathy Jones runs Maine's largest and busiest city clerk's office, and does it extremely well," said Dunlap as he presented the award. "It's a testament to her devotion to the democratic process that Portland's elections run so smoothly. That doesn't happen by accident. Without the commitment of town and city clerks like Kathy Jones, we'd be in a very tough spot, for sure."
To view photo: http://www.maine.gov/sos/news/2016/lorrainefleuryaward16.html
Business Forums During National Disability Employment Awareness Month Highlight Tapping a Broader Talent Pool
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:32:16 EDT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2016
Registration Contact: Charles Woodbury 624-5195
Media Contact: Tim Sardano, 626-6232
AUGUSTA--In observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, CareerCenters, part of the Maine Department of Labor, in central and western Maine will offer business forums for employers who want to learn more about finding qualified employees during a labor shortage.
"Maine businesses in need of qualified talent find it especially difficult in a tightening labor market," said Labor Commissioner, Jeanne Paquette. "Even during a time of low unemployment, we can guide employers to individuals that can fill a business's immediate needs or work with them to identify training programs that will help upskill their current workers, which in turn opens entry-level or easier-to-fill positions. It's a win-win-win for businesses, workers, and the Maine economy."
The forums will include an overview of the current labor shortage and how to access untapped talent among people with disabilities, ex-offenders, and others with barriers to employment. The forum will also provide information on worker training opportunities and business tax credits available when hiring from the under-utilized workforce.
The forums will be held in four locations, with information provided by Maine CareerCenter staff:
- Tuesday, October 4, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Lewiston CareerCenter, 5 Mollison Way, Lewiston
- Thursday, October 20, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Skowhegan CareerCenter, 98 North Avenue, Skowhegan
- Monday, October 24, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Wilton CareerCenter, 865 US Route 2E, Wilton
- Thursday, October 27, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Augusta CareeRCenter, 21 Enterprise Drive, Suite 2, Augusta
For more information or to RSVP, contact contact Charles Woodbury at Charles.Woodbury@maine.gov or 624-5195.
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2016 is "#InclusionWorks
These forums are sponsored by the Central Western Maine Workforce Development Board, the Maine Disability Employment Initiative, and the Maine Department of Labor, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.
The Maine Department of Labor provides equal opportunity in employment and programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.
Governor LePage Joins Coalition of States Challenging New Overtime Rule
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:50:38 EDT
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage joined a coalition of states today in filing a federal court complaint challenging the United States Department of Labor's new overtime rule.
"If implemented, this rule would more than double the minimum salary threshold for public and private workers without Congressional authorization," said Governor LePage. "The rule will force many state and local governments to substantially increase their employment costs. Some may be forced to eliminate some services and even lay off employees."
The complaint urges the court to prevent the implementation of the new rule before it takes effect, which is scheduled for December 1, 2016.
The "threshold" for salaried employees is now $47,500 a year. All salaried employees making less than that will now qualify for overtime. Employers will be required to pay time-and-a-half to anyone working more than 40 hours a week. This will significantly increase labor costs for businesses, as well as state and local governments.
On March 13, 2014, President Obama ordered the Department of Labor to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime exemption for executive, administrative and professional employees-the so-called "white collar" exemption-to account for the federal minimum wage.
On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor issued the final new overtime rule. It doubles the salary-level threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime, regardless of whether if they perform executive, administrative, or professional duties. After December 1, 2016, all employees are entitled to overtime if they earn less than $913 a week-including state and local government employees. Additionally, the new rule contains a ratcheting mechanism to automatically increase the salary-level every three years without going through the standard rule-making process required by federal law.
In addition to Nevada, other states that joined this filing include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
"This rule, coupled with referendum questions to dramatically increase the minimum wage and impose a 10.13% income tax on successful Mainers, demonstrates the Democrats at the state and national level are doing everything they can to put people out of work," said Governor LePage.
The filed complaint is attached below.
Maine State Archives to offer tours, highlight Aroostook War during American Archives Month
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 11:05:51 EDT
AUGUSTA - The Maine State Archives will celebrate American Archives Month this October with public tours, a genealogy resource session and presentations from local historians.
The theme of this year's fall exhibit is the Aroostook War, Maine's northern border dispute. All visitors will be able to view the exhibit, and a limited number of participants can also take part in a one-hour tour of the Archives, visiting areas that are not normally accessible to the public. The tours will coincide with two of these events:
- Saturday, Oct. 1: Archives Month will kick-off with a presentation on "The Bloodless Aroostook War" by historian Hank Lunn, at Noon in the Archives lobby. State Archivist David Cheever will introduce Lunn and read the official Archives Month proclamation. A public tour of the Archives will follow, at approximately 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 18: University of Maine at Augusta history professor Thomas McCord will present "Detours and Details: Unearthing the History of Maine Highways at the Archives" at 6:30 p.m. in the Archives lobby. McCord's presentation will focus on the stories of Maine's highways and their role in shaping the state's 20th century image and economy.
- Saturday, Oct. 29: Archivist Samuel Howes will give a presentation on Family Search and using the Archives' digital collections for genealogy research, at 10 a.m. in the Archives lobby. A public tour of the Archives will follow at approximately 11 a.m.
To reserve your spot on a tour, please contact Communications Director Kristen Muszynski at with your full name and phone number. Tours will be capped at 20 participants. (No large groups, please.) The Maine State Archives is located in the Cultural Building, 230 State St., across from the statehouse in Augusta.
Also during American Archives Month, the Archives will offer extended hours for researchers. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, but during October, the Research Room will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Maine State Archives will also be participating in the #AskAnArchivist event on Twitter, in which people from around the world can submit questions for archivists to answer. To take part in this outreach event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, simply include #AskAnArchivist in your tweet and participating archivists will respond.
Visit http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/ or our Facebook page, Maine State Archives at https://www.facebook.com/MaineStateArchives?ref=hl , for more information and updates about our plans for American Archives Month this October.
Maine Unemployment Rate 4.0 Percent in August
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:31:42 EDT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2016
Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192AUGUSTA--The Maine Department of Labor, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released August workforce estimates for Maine.**Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data****Household Survey Estimates -** The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.0 percent was little changed from 3.9 percent in July and up from the recent low of 3.4 percent in March and April. The unemployment rate was down from 4.3 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed declined 1,400 over the year to 27,800.The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.9 percent was unchanged from July and down from 5.1 percent one year ago. The recent rise in unemployment estimates should not be interpreted as an indication workforce conditions in Maine are deteriorating. Other metrics, including payroll jobs, indicate continued improvement and expansion. As we point out each month in note 1 (below), preliminary estimates tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions.
The employment to population ratio estimate of 60.5 percent was above the U.S. average of 59.7 percent.
The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.2 percent. Rates for other states were 3.0 percent in New Hampshire, 3.3 percent in Vermont, 3.9 percent in Massachusetts, 5.6 percent in Rhode Island, and 5.6 percent in Connecticut.Labor force and unemployment data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .**Payroll Survey Estimates -** The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 616,000 for August was up 4,700 from one year ago. Private sector jobs were up 6,200, primarily in the education, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, finance, and professional services sectors. The estimate of 98,900 government jobs was down 1,500.Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .**Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data**The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.3 percent for August was down slightly from 3.5 percent one year ago. Rates ranged from 2.7 percent in Cumberland, Knox, and Sagadahoc to 4.9 percent in Somerset and Piscataquis Counties. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and coastal counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland (2.7 percent) metro area and close to the average in the Lewiston-Auburn (3.2 percent) and Bangor (3.6 percent) metros.September estimates will be released on Friday, October 21 (Data Release Schedule: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).
**NOTES**1. Preliminary labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns.2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2016 is 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month.3. To assess employment growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. More on the differences in accuracy of the two measures is at http://cwri.blogspot.com/2016/04/reports-that-maine-is-losing-jobs-are.html4. Nonfarm p[...]
Brunswick Surgeon Placed on Probation by Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:31:45 EDT
AUGUSTA, ME - - On September 13, 2016, the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine (Board) and the Maine Office of Attorney General entered into a consent agreement with Peter J. Ameglio, M.D. The consent agreement resolves a complaint concerning Dr. Ameglio's medical documentation and ability to apply principles primarily based upon inadequate medical documentation.
The consent agreement places Dr. Ameglio's medical license on probation for an indeterminate time, and requires him to successfully complete 20 hours of continuing medical education and either complete an additional surgical fellowship or practice medicine with an orthopedic physician monitor.
This action originated from a mandated report that Dr. Ameglio's privileges and appointment to medical staff had been suspended based on substandard or inadequate care. Dr. Ameglio practiced in Brunswick.
All Board disciplinary actions are reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Federation of State Medical Boards Action Data Bank. These reports are regularly reviewed by every state licensing board in the country.
The Board is made up of 6 physicians, 3 public members, and a physician assistant appointed by the Governor. Disciplinary actions taken by the Board are available to the public either by telephone at (207) 287-3601, or on the Board's website at www.maine.gov/md.
The Board of Licensure in Medicine is the State of Maine agency charged to protect the health and welfare of the public by verifying the qualifications of physicians to practice, and disciplining physicians for unprofessional conduct and incompetence. Any citizen can request an investigation of a physician or physician assistant by contacting the Board office by telephone at (207) 287-3608, by letter, or by visiting the Board's web site.
Scammer Posing as Texas Employer Attempts to Gain Personal Information from Job Seekers
Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:52:17 EDT
For Immediate Release: September 19, 2016
Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009
*Commissioner of Labor warns job seekers to report odd hiring practices involving interviews via Google Hangout*
AUGUSTA-Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette warns job seekers about a scam that Department of Labor staff detected over the past week.
The scammer used the Maine JobLink account of a legitimate Maine employer to target at least four job seekers, posing as a real Texas hospital system to recruit them for an administrative assistant position. The scammer contacted them by email, indicating how to follow up. This included an interview through Google Hangout with the hospital president.
A concerned applicant contacted her local CareerCenter after participating in the Google Hangout interview. After the interview she called the Texas hospital; staff there advised her that no one from the hospital had participated in the interview and this was likely a scam.
Commissioner Paquette stated, "Job seekers should continue to register with Maine JobLink and continue to use legitimate online job banks to search for work, because that is the modern method of job hunting. Working remotely is also a legitimate form of employment. However, when an employer' is asking you to buy equipment or saying they will send you money prior to filling out any paperwork, does not bother with a face-to-face interview or wants to interview you through a messaging system, you should be suspicious."
The department has investigated this incident and a second similar email and reported them to the America's Job Link Alliance (AJLA), the 16-state consortium that manages the data network of which Maine JobLink is a part, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Maine State Police.
The initial email sent to job seekers from the account "firstname.lastname@example.org" says [errors in original]:
Our recruitment team viewed your resume published on (www.joblink.maine.gov) Application :Front Desk Receptionist / Office Assistant, Data Entry / Customer Service Representative, Administrative
Assistant- Full Time/ Part Time) and we are pleased with your qualifications, we believe you have the
required qualifications to undergo an online interview.
Your resume was shortlisted for an online interview with the President and Chief Executive Officer,
Seton Family of Hospitals, and Chief Operating Officer, Ascension's Texas Ministry Michelle L.
Robertson, RN via G-mail Hangout or Google talk with the following email address (email@example.com).
Add Her to your buddy list and message Her, She will be online waiting for you ASAP to conduct the
interview with you.
During the interview, the scammer told the jobseeker that she would be sent her employment paper work once she had bought the equipment with the money the "employer" was going to send and was ready the start training. "Yes, You get all the required document once you have all your working equipment" [errors in original]. The scammer also told the job seeker to report for work via Google Hangout.
Although this job seeker did not follow through to receive the payment for the equipment, officials believe the next step in the scam would have created a situation for the scammer to access the job seeker's bank account and other personal and financial information.
Maine JobLink's registered job seekers include people filing for unemployment. Because individuals who are unemployed may be in difficult financial circumstances, scammers play on the need for work to entice people into overlooking what they might find concerning in other situations. The offer of what appears to be a good job that starts soon may be hard to pass up for job seeker in financial stress.
Commissioner Paquette emphasized, "If you have questions about a job posting, do not [...]
DHHS to discuss a recent case of elder financial and welfare fraud
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 13:35:39 EDT
September 14, 2016
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Samantha Edwards, (207)530-3043
DHHS will be discussing a recent case of elder financial and welfare fraud and asking for the public's help in identifying additional victims
WHAT: DHHS staff from the Office of Aging and Disability Services and the Fraud Investigations and Recovery Unit will discuss a recent case of financial exploitation of elders involving at least a dozen residents of Androscoggin County and ask for the public's help in identifying additional victims. The perpetrator also allegedly committed welfare fraud.
WHEN: Thursday, September 15th at 1:00PM
WHERE: DHHS Lewiston Regional Office, 200 Main Street, Lewiston
AUGUSTA- Recently, an Androscoggin Grand Jury indicted Tanya Boutelle on various counts of theft by deception totaling more than $150,000. Twelve alleged victims have come forward, most of whom are elderly. Over the last two years, authorities claim Boutelle would establish a relationship with the victims and proceed to create various scenarios where she needed to borrow money. In addition to the $150,000 in stolen money, authorities say Boutelle stole items from the victims' homes.
This case was brought to light after the Department's Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit (FIRU) began investigating Boutelle for welfare fraud. Investigators had discovered the 54-year old woman was not reporting her income to the State thereby receiving an excess of $3,700 in welfare benefits she was not entitled to. Boutelle was indicted on those charges.
The Department's Fraud Investigators work closely with DHHS Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) to protect our most vulnerable citizens. It was this collaboration along with the creation of the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) that allowed investigators, law enforcement and prosecutors to locate the alleged victims of this case and assist in bringing charges forward.
While twelve victims were identified, investigators anticipate there may be others. The Department is asking the public to help identify anyone who may have been a victim of elder financial abuse and urge them to come forward.
Members of the Department will be discussing the importance of the FAST program and the resources available to detect, assist and prosecute those who commit crimes against the elderly.
Maine's Bureau of Financial Institutions Warns Public about Phony Text Messages Sent to Bank and Credit Union Customers
Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:52:57 EDT
Maine's Bureau of Financial Institutions at the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation warns of a scam involving fraudulent text messages. The messages appear to come from a consumer's bank or credit union and indicate that there is a problem with the consumer's account or debit card. The scammers urgently request account and other personal information in order to fix the non-existent problem. The Bureau of Financial Institutions reminds consumers to look out for this scam and not to divulge bank or credit union account numbers or other personal information by text, phone or email.
The customers of several banks and credit unions received the text message. The message does not contain the name of any particular institution and appears randomly sent to cell phone numbers without targeting consumers at any particular institution. "Banks and credit unions will not text, call, or email customers asking them to divulge account numbers, pins or social security numbers," Superintendent Lloyd P. LaFountain III said.
LaFountain emphasized that customers receiving unexpected calls, e-mails or text messages should call their bank or credit union directly and talk to an employee. He also noted that customers should always be vigilant to protect their personal information and monitor account statements.
If a consumer suspects he or she has received a scam text, the consumer should:
Not return the text or call the number provided
Never provide personal account information or other personal information in response to a text, call or e-mail. A bank or credit union does not request personal account information in such a manner.
The Bureau of Financial Institutions has a consumer library with helpful information about how consumers can spot and avoid financial scams. Also, the Bureau's Consumer Outreach Specialist is available to answer any consumer questions related to financial scams or accounts in general. The Bureau's phone number is 207-624-8570. The website is www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions/index.shtml.
State Officials Observe Fifteenth Anniversary of 9/11 with Launch of "If You See Something, Say Something" Campaign
Tue, 13 Sep 2016 13:10:14 EDT
Maine law enforcement agencies and Maine Emergency Management Agency joined the LePage administration today to reinforce Maine's commitment to fighting terrorism and violent crime by partnering with the Department of Homeland Security in its "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign. A press conference was held to officially launch the campaign. Speakers and attendees included the Maine State Police, Maine Sheriff's Association, local law enforcement agencies, the LePage administration and Homeland Security experts.
"Fifteen years after the 9-11 attack, we should not become complacent," said Homeland Security Advisor Chet Lunner. "We all should become involved citizens in this common-sense practice to honor past victims and help prevent future ones."
The If You See Something, Say Something campaign is a public awareness campaign launched by the Department of Homeland Security to raise public awareness about terrorism and the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local authorities. "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign materials will be visible throughout the state of Maine in public buildings, transit systems, schools and participating business and event locations.
"This initiative provides law enforcement with another tool to help prevent terrorism and other related criminal activity by establishing a national capacity for gathering, documenting, processing, analyzing, and sharing suspicious activity information," said Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Morris. "State and local law enforcement agencies are trained to recognize behaviors and indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime. If you are unsure, call and discuss your concern."
The public should report suspicious activity and behavior such as a suspicious package or someone breaking into a restricted area. Suspicious activity does not include factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity in Maine is asked to call their local law enforcement agency or **9-1-1** in case of an emergency.
Following the press conference, reporters were given a tour of the Maine Information and Analysis Center (MIAC), also known as the Fusion Center, which is a clearinghouse for information relative to Maine's homeland security and terrorist related activity.