A deputy superintendent at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft and bribery.

Gerald E. Merrill Courtesy Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office

Gerald E. Merrill, 61, is accused of using state money to buy products from certain vendors in exchange for more than $10,000 in kickbacks over the course of nearly a decade, according to a criminal complaint.

“I am deeply disturbed by these allegations and fully support the actions of the Attorney General’s Office,” Randy Liberty, commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections, said in a statement. “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.”

Merrill, who also is the deputy supervisor of the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, faces one count of theft by unauthorized taking and one count of bribery in official and political matters, according to the complaint. The theft charge, the more serious of the two he faces, carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Investigators from the Office of the Maine Attorney General and members of the Maine State Police executed search warrants at the prison and at Merrill’s home Tuesday before his arrest, said Danna Hayes, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office. It’s not clear what evidence they found. An affidavit containing information about the case has been impounded.

Merrill made his initial court appearance via Zoom in Bangor on Wednesday afternoon. An attorney who represented him at the appearance said that Merrill planned on retaining Augusta-based attorney Walt McKee.


McKee did not respond to a voicemail Wednesday asking to discuss the allegations. Merrill was being held at the Penobscot County Jail on Wednesday evening. He is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 10, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said.

Merrill is accused of using state-issued credit cards from March 2014 until his arrest to pay five companies – A to Z Chemical Supply, ACS Solutions, Service Industries, Southern Source Industries and Starlite Supplies – who then sent money to his personal accounts, the complaint says.


According to Maine State Auditor Matthew Dunlap, the attorney general’s criminal investigation stemmed from a broader project in his office to examine how state employees used procurement cards, or “P-cards,” which serve the same purpose as petty cash accounts. They work like credit cards and allow employees to quickly and easily make small purchases with state dollars without needing to go through an invoice or bidding process.

During a relatively slow period in the fiscal year, Dunlap said his office decided to look at how often state employees were making purchases near the $5,000 limit.

Dunlap said his team had not set out to find fraud, but they recognized the potential for problems with the procurement card system because it grants supervisors the authority to keep custody of funds, authorize payments and maintain records – three duties that should ideally remain segregated. Merrill’s spending pattern caught the auditors’ attention, Dunlap said.


“You had a repeated number of high-end transactions for a similar purpose over a decreasing interval of time,” Dunlap said. “When we started seeing evidence of some of these transactions maybe being repetitive, perhaps a little dodgy, that’s when we brought in the (attorney general’s office) … and we sort of just turned it over to them.”

The attorney general’s office did not provide details about how often Merrill is accused of making these illegal purchases or how much the payments were for.


No one from any of the companies listed in the complaint returned requests to discuss the case or their relationship with the Maine Department of Corrections.

The phone number listed on A to Z Chemical Supply’s website appeared to be disconnected. Southern Source Industries and Starlite Supplies listed the same phone number and Oakland Park, Florida, address. Both websites featured the same photos and listed an almost identical set of cleaning and industrial products but provided seemingly no way to buy anything.

A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office did not respond to an email asking whether the businesses also were the subject of a criminal investigation.

“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. While evidence of public corruption is thankfully rare in Maine, my office, Commissioner Liberty, and Auditor Dunlap take these allegations incredibly seriously,” Attorney General Aaron M. Frey said in a statement. “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.”

Merrill’s LinkedIn page lists his title as deputy superintendent at the Maine Department of Corrections, a position he has held since December 2012.

“Serving in an executive leadership role, I steer all operations including budget management, human resources, employee relations, plant maintenance, warehouse supply and regulatory compliance,” the page states. “I also lead investigations involving close analysis of information, managing teams and following all protocols necessary for optimal results.”

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