A Belfast attorney who bilked two elderly clients out of almost $500,000 is out of jail early thanks to Gov. Paul LePage.

William Dawson, 63, was one of 17 prisoners released Friday after LePage granted them conditional commutations that the Department of Corrections said is linked to his attempt to close a minimum security prison in Machiasport.

Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick on Saturday confirmed the names of the released prisoners, who were convicted of nonviolent crimes such as burglary, theft or drug possession.

“Governor LePage was extremely mindful of who he would commute,” Fitzpatrick said. “These are all individuals that pose little risk to the public.”

The commutations shaved as little as 35 days off a Carmel man’s 18-month theft sentence, and as much as 382 days off a Rockland man’s two-year sentence for operating a vehicle after repeated license revocations, based on a review of online Department of Corrections records. Combined, LePage’s commutations took more than seven years of jail time off the 17 prisoners’ sentences.

Dawson appears to be the highest profile prisoner. The now-disbarred attorney pleaded guilty in March 2016 to two counts of felony theft and three counts of failing to pay state income taxes. He was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 30 months suspended. He was due to be released in February 2018.

Dawson regularly wrote out large checks to himself from the bank accounts of 85-year-old Veronica Pendleton and 97-year-old Doris Schmidt, who were both in a nursing home that Dawson had placed them in, according to records. Both women have since died.

In a statement Friday, LePage characterized the commutations as a fiscally responsible move that will help low-risk offenders transition into jobs, calling them a way to “build our workforce and fill positions that have been sitting vacant.” The commutations come with conditions, including a strict curfew, the prohibition of any new criminal conduct, and probation-like supervision.

Any victims have been informed of the early release of the prisoners, if they had requested notification at the time of sentencing, Fitzpatrick said.

The following prisoners have been released early, according to Fitzpatrick:

Allyn White, 29, of Brewer – 69 days off a 9-month sentence for theft

Christopher Brosius, 29, of Sanford – 46 days off a 16-month sentence for burglary

Gage Small, 26, of Carmel – 35 days off an 18-month sentence for theft and forgery

Jacob Hale, 21, of Hancock – 91 days off a 2-year sentence for burglary

Jason Aldridge, 44, of Lewiston – 287 days off a 16-month sentence for unlawful possession of an unscheduled drug

Jesse Arsenault, 30, of Peru – 91 days off a 1-year sentence for theft and burglary

Joel Curley, 55, of Newcastle – 286 days off a 2-year sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

John Auclair, 31, of Bangor – 224 days off a 2-year sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

Kenneth MacDougall, 48, of Greenbush – 50 days off a 9-month sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

Kerry Grenier, 44, of Waterville – 112 days off an 18-month sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

Michael Godbout, 46, of Augusta – 111 days off a 10-month sentence for theft

Richard Hodge, 26, of Norway – 134 days off a 10-month sentence for burglary

Shawn Willette, 43, of Rockland – 382 days off a 2-year sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

Steven Francis, 58, of Monson – 196 days off 1-year sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

Timothy O’Neill, 32, – 175 days off an 18-month sentence for operating a vehicle after a habitual offender revocation

Travis Wakefield, 27, of Lyman – 65 days off a 16-month sentence for theft

William Dawson, 63, of Belfast – 277 days off a 30-month sentence for theft