The Office of the Maine Attorney General announced Wednesday that they have charged a deputy superintendent of two state correctional facilities with theft and bribery.
Gerald E. Merrill, Jr., Deputy Superintendent of the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston and the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, is alleged to have engaged in a long-running scheme using state funds to purchase products from certain vendors in exchange for illegal kickback payments.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) launched an investigation after auditors noticed an “irregular volume of funds being spent on purchase cards under Merrill’s control.”
“These allegations that a public official who is entrusted with the stewardship of public money and the execution of essential government duties has abused that trust for personal gain are disturbing,” said Attorney General Aaron Frey. “While evidence of public corruption is thankfully rare in Maine, my office, Commissioner Liberty, and Auditor Dunlap take these allegations incredibly seriously.”
“I want to thank my team in the Office of the Attorney General, as well as the State Auditor for ensuring that Maine citizens are faithfully represented and responding swiftly to bring Mr. Merrill to account,” Frey said.
As a state employee, Merrill received compensation worth $111,844.77, according to state payroll data.
On July 25, AGO detectives and the Maine State Police executed a search warrant at Mountain View Correctional Facility and at Merrill’s residence.
Merrill was then arrested and transferred to the Penobscot County Jail pending the posting of his bail.
“I am deeply disturbed by these allegations and fully support the actions of the Attorney General’s Office,” said Randy Liberty, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections. “The Maine Department of Corrections expects its employees, like all State employees, to adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct and failure to do so is unacceptable. “
“The Department will fully support and assist the Attorney General’s Office in its work, and, working closely with the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, we will ensure appropriate action is taken in response to this serious matter,” Liberty added.
Merrill made his initial appearance in Bangor before the Unified Criminal Docket at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and is being held on $50,000 bail.