AUGUSTA — An Augusta-based agency providing daily living support services and case management for about 300 people with mental illness in central Maine closed this week, the same day the state terminated its contract.

About 100 employees of Fullcircle Supports Inc. were told about the closing Tuesday morning, and several said Friday that they had not received their weekly paychecks.

“Based on credible allegations of fraud, the department was federally required to suspend payment and did so on April 28, 2017,” said Samantha Edwards, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, in an email.

The department sent Fullcircle Supports a violation notice “for noncompliance with the MaineCare Benefits Manual” on May 5.

“Upon further review, MaineCare terminated the provider agreement with Fullcircle Supports on May 9,” she wrote. “The department was officially notified on the same day that the provider ceased operations. The department is working to identify and contact clients to smoothly transition them to other area providers.”

Edwards said via email that the department could provide no details about its investigation.

Once a fraud allegation is deemed credible, an investigation is conducted by a state or federal law enforcement agency.

Fullcircle Supports, which began operating in 2011 in Hallowell, was owned by Toni Richards of Temple.

Richards, who was contacted by phone and email Friday morning, said she would issue a statement later in the day. However, nothing was received by 5 p.m.

The main phone number for the agency was not taking any more messages on Friday afternoon.

In the meantime, the clients of the agency, which provided assistance to those with mental disabilities and mental illness, are seeking new providers, and the former employees are looking for new jobs.

“I’m more concerned about our clients and the safely of the community,” said Cassandra Goodridge, 42, of Madison. She had worked for Fullcircle for more than three years. “I had to go to a client on my own time Wednesday morning because she’s teetering on crisis,” Goodridge said. “I just couldn’t tell her over the phone.”

Goodridge said she had provided daily services to the woman for two and a half years.

“We contacted her case manager and called another agency to try to get her services as quickly as possibly, but it will be about two weeks,” she said.

Goodridge has talked to a number of others who used to work at Fullcircle about the abrupt closing, and said one person saw a client at the soup kitchen who was crying because the individual did not know the agency had folded.

“One client thought his worker had gotten into an accident on the way to work because she didn’t come,” Goodridge said.

Direct service workers do a variety of jobs for clients, taking them to doctors’ and dialysis appointments, and shopping, helping them with chores and helping them budget money.

Goodridge said she filed for unemployment, and was told the Department of Labor had gotten about 85 calls from former Fullcircle workers reporting they had not gotten paid Friday.

“There are people that are worried they’re going to get evicted because they didn’t get paid,” she said. “There are a lot of single mothers.”

She might move to a different type of work.

“This really soured me,” she said. “It’s a hard field to work in.”

Morla “Mo” Connor, 38, of Augusta, worked for Fullcircle Supports for five years.

“I started as a (daily living support worker) and then I moved to case management for over a year now,” she said.

A single mother of two, she has fewer economic concerns than some of her co-workers.

“Thank God I’ve had two jobs for past six years,” Connor said. She had worked part-time at Maine Vocational Rehabilitation Associates and now will work full-time there as a case manager.

She is upset about the abrupt closing and worries that people who need services will feel abandoned.

“The clients are right in the middle, not knowing what’s going on,” Connor said.

Michael Wasserboehr, 33, of Augusta, worked for Fullcircle for three years as a direct or daily living skills worker. He worked Saturdays so he could be home with his children during the week.

He too worries about the clients.

“These are people who rely on us to do things for them, like find a new agency,” Wasserboehr said. “One guy that I worked with received services six days a week. What is he doing? Those are the things that I’m worried about. They screwed the entire clients over.”

Wasserboehr said he learned about the closure late Tuesday as he was trying to submit his paperwork for the previous Saturday.

He said he saw the text message that went out, telling employees, “We need everybody to be at this meeting for ‘positive changes’ coming. I’m still heated about it.”

Jen Gagne, 35, in Gardiner, worked in quality assurance for Fullcircle Supports for four years, and in the mental health support service field for 15 years.

By Friday, she had applied for unemployment.

“Luckily I did qualify,” she said, adding that she had heard others had not.

She too did not get paid Friday.

“All we can do is try to fight through it,” she said. “I want some answers, instead of being lied to about saying we’re going to get our paychecks and there’s no problem.”

Gagne said she’s hoping to get some answers from the state.

“Part of my responsibility was to take in all of the (daily living support) paperwork and hand that off to payroll,” she said. “What about the people who haven’t turned in their stuff yet?”

Jodi Carey, 37, of Manchester, worked as receptionist at Fullcircle Supports for a year and a half.

She said she learned of the closing at the 8 a.m. meeting Tuesday where she said workers were told that Fullcircle was merging with a Waterville-based agency that provided similar services and that there would be jobs for them there.

However, she said that turned out not to be the case.