WISCASSET — Former lawyer Anita Volpe pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $1 million from three elderly, incapacitated clients.

Volpe, 76, of St. George, pleaded guilty in Lincoln County Superior Court to three counts of felony theft. Justice Daniel Billings said sentencing will likely be in February or March.

Former lawyer Anita Volpe, with attorney Leonard Sharon, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony theft during a hearing in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset on Monday. Courier-Gazette photograph

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin filed a memorandum in the Knox County Court in October 2019 asking for a seven-year prison term. After the hearing Monday, Robbin said since there is no agreed upon sentence, Volpe could be sentenced to up to 10 years for the offenses.

Volpe said little during the hearing other than that she understood her rights and that she was pleading guilty.

Volpe was indicted in March 2019 on three counts of felony theft, two counts of Class B misuse of entrusted property and one count of Class C misuse of entrusted property. The misuse of entrusted property charges were dismissed Monday in exchange for the guilty pleas.

Volpe is represented by attorney Leonard Sharon. The case, like most in the court system, had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed by the court.

Advertisement

According to court documents, Volpe stole $553,225 from Mary Webb; $490,416 from Patricia Wakefield; and more than $100,000 from Corine Hendrick, who was her mother-in-law. The amount of restitution to be paid has not been determined and will be set by the judge at the sentencing hearing.

Volpe served as the power of attorney for the three women.

The longtime local lawyer used the stolen money to pay personal credit card debt and to purchase real estate, including a parcel abutting her home in St. George. Volpe also used some of the money to repair her Main Street law office in Rockland, and for repairs to her home on Tenants Harbor in St. George. Money was also used to pay property taxes for property she owned in Florida and for a vehicle for her business partner. One payment from Webb’s account was $2,500 for a wood carving from an art gallery that Volpe owned in Rockland.

Volpe also received annuities meant for Wakefield, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, after the woman died.

Hendrick died Dec. 20, 2014, at age 92, after several weeks in a nursing facility in Augusta that her grandchildren said was very low-quality. The family had wanted to put her in Quarry Hill, but could not afford it.

The Maine Supreme Court accepted the surrender of Volpe’s license in lieu of disciplinary action in August 2016.

Volpe had initially been the personal representative for Hendrick’s estate after Hendrick died, but withdrew before the estate was probated. She repaid Hendrick’s estate after she surrendered her law license, but the Board of Overseers of the Bar was unaware that the money had been stolen from Webb and Wakefield.

The thefts from the other women came when the banks noticed the multiple transactions over a period of years.

Volpe was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1977.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: