According to law enforcement officials, a Maine corrections official allegedly manipulated prison purchases to favor certain vendors in return for kickbacks as part of an extensive and ongoing scheme.
The Man Behind the Alleged Prison Kickback Scheme
The deputy superintendent of the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport and Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, Gerald E. Merrill, the man behind the alleged kickback scheme in prison, was detained on Tuesday and is accused of extortion and theft. He faces a possible 10-year prison term for the theft violation if found guilty.
The first Zoom court appearance for Merrill, 61, took place on Wednesday. A message asking his attorney to comment on Merrill’s behalf had not yet received a response.
The criminal investigation by the attorney general’s office, according to Maine State Auditor Matthew Dunlap, was the result of a bigger project within his own office. The project’s objective was to examine typical transactions and look for any obvious patterns. The auditors noticed Gerald E. Merrill’s spending patterns during this audit, which prompted additional scrutiny and a subsequent investigation.
The Case from the Perspective of the Maine Department of Corrections
The Maine Department of Corrections stated in a public statement that it expects all state employees, including its own staff, to act in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards. Any failure to satisfy these requirements is utterly unacceptable in the department’s eyes.
Merrill has held the position of deputy superintendent since December 2012, according to information on his LinkedIn page. He is responsible for a broad range of tasks in this position, including budget management, human resources, employee relations, plant maintenance, warehouse supply, and regulatory compliance.