A Brunswick nurse who has been charged with financial crimes had received more than half a million dollars from an elderly patient, according to a lawsuit that was settled while the criminal investigation was underway.

Amy McLellan, 61, was indicted last week on felony counts of theft and misuse of entrusted property of a vulnerable person. She owns The McLellan, an apartment complex for seniors that opened last year. Few details about the criminal case were available in the wake of the indictment, but a civil complaint filed last year provides details about the circumstances that led to the charges.

The lawsuit states David Fratus first met McLellan when he was admitted to Central Maine Medical Center to be treated for Parkinson’s disease and delirium in early 2016. Fratus and his wife, Frances, have few surviving relatives except a granddaughter who lives out of state. At the time their complaint was filed last year, the husband and wife were 89 and 92, respectively.

“Amy was my nurse and she befriended me,” Fratus wrote in his affidavit in the lawsuit.

Amy McLellan

In April 2016, McLellan persuaded Fratus to give her power of attorney, the lawsuit alleged. Over the next sixteen months, she allegedly requested hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, in amounts ranging from $14,250 to $200,000 at a time. McLellan told David Fratus she needed the money to help build and operate The McLellan, he wrote in his affidavit. The couple eventually moved into the new apartment complex.

By August of last year, McLellan had received $588,250 from the Fratuses’ accounts, the lawsuit alleged.

“I have given Amy almost all of my life savings,” Fratus wrote. “I have no other assets.”

‘HOUSE OF CARDS IS READY TO FALL’

In October, McLellan was reported to the Brunswick Police Department and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for suspected financial exploitation. It is unclear who made the report. Later that month, the police executed a search warrant at McLellan’s apartment and helped move David and Frances Fratus to a different senior housing facility. A spokesperson from the state DHHS has declined to comment on the case and did not respond to questions Wednesday.

In December, the couple filed their lawsuit in Cumberland County Superior Court. Their attorney, Daniel Stevens, also asked for a court order to seize McLellan’s assets, which was granted.

“The house of cards is ready to fall for Ms. McLellan and her companies,” Stevens wrote in his motion.

The parties reached a settlement in January. Stevens said Wednesday that he could not confirm the amount of the settlement, but that it “serves to reimburse” the couple.

“Some of the monies transferred to Ms. McClellan were for legitimate housing costs, while others were not,” he said in an email. “The attorneys for the parties reviewed those transfers and agreed upon an amount that should be repaid to Mr. and Mrs. Fratus. The majority of those funds have already been repaid and there is an agreement with regard to future payment of the balance.”

On Friday, a Cumberland County grand jury indicted McLellan on criminal charges. She is accused of misusing property entrusted to her by David Fratus, resulting in a loss of more than $10,000. She also is accused of committing theft “by obtaining or exercising unauthorized control over a business loan, property of Norway Savings Bank, of a value more than $10,000, with the intent to deprive Norway Savings Bank of the property.”

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Doherty said the second charge is related to allegations that McLellan wrongfully obtained her loan by misrepresenting where she was getting the money that would serve as collateral.

McLellan’s lawyer, Kristine Hanly, provided a statement about the criminal indictment via email Tuesday evening.

“A contract dispute arose between Mr. Fratus and Ms. McLellan,” Hanly wrote. “Through their respective attorneys, they resolved the matter in civil court to the satisfaction of both parties. Accordingly, Mr. Fratus dismissed his civil complaint against Ms. McLellan. The mortgage held by Norway Savings Bank has been paid in full. It is unclear to me why the state is expending time and resources prosecuting Ms. McLellan in a matter that is civil in nature and has already been resolved to the benefit of all parties.”

Hanly did not answer further questions about the lawsuit Wednesday evening.

‘AN OBLIGATION TO PROTECT VICTIMS’

Stevens disagreed with the characterization of the case as “a contract dispute.”

“The heart of all these claims is that Ms. McClellan took financial advantage of some wonderful senior citizens whom she befriended,” Stevens said. “Fortunately, there are laws in Maine to protect our senior citizens, and my office is pleased to have been able to represent Mr. and Mrs. Fratus in seeking to hold Ms. McClellan accountable.”

Doherty said that a financial settlement does not mean the Fratus family has been made whole financially, and that the criminal and civil processes are not mutually exclusive.

“The state has an obligation to protect victims and the community at large, and ensure that people are held accountable for their criminal activity, which also serves to warn the public of consequences for these types of actions,” she said. “That is why the time and resources Attorney Hanly speaks of are being spent – and it is worth every moment to see justice prevail.”

McLellan purchased a former nursing home on Cumberland Street in Brunswick in 2016 and renovated it to become an assisted-living space for people 62 years or older. The building has 18 apartments in addition to an owner’s residence. McLellan told The Times Record in a 2016 interview that she would be the resident nurse on the property.

The McLellan’s website lists monthly fees between $2,300 and $4,500, along with a refundable entry fee between $35,000 and $85,000. Additional fees might apply for a second person in the apartment, or for a garage space. The monthly fee includes one meal a day, as well as amenities such as a fitness center and a community garden.

A background check showed McLellan does not have a criminal record in Maine. The two charges are Class B crimes, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. She will be arraigned Sept. 18 in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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