WISCASSET — Former lawyer Anita Volpe was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail for stealing more than $1 million from three elderly, incapacitated clients.

Justice Daniel Billings sentenced the 76-year-old Tenants Harbor woman in Lincoln County Superior Court for three counts of felony theft.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin filed a memorandum in the Knox County court in October 2019 asking for a seven-year prison term for Volpe. At the March 4 hearing, Robbin asked for a 10-year sentence with all but five years suspended to be followed by three years of probation.

“Anita Volpe is the Bernie Madoff of Maine,” the prosecutor said.

Justice Billings imposed a 10-year sentence with all but 18 months suspended to be followed by three years of probation. The judge cited Volpe’s age and her health in imposing less than sought by the prosecution. Volpe was treated for bladder cancer but has been in remission.

The judge also noted that Volpe had the support of her community. About 20 family and friends attended the hearing to show support for the Tenants Harbor woman. They included other attorneys and her pastor.


Volpe pleaded guilty Oct. 18, 2021, and has been free awaiting sentencing.

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 was 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.

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. Judge Billings ordered Volpe to pay about $1 million in restitution to the Webb and Wakefield estates. Her attorney said she was ready to pay $65,000 in restitution.

Volpe had stolen from the Webb and Wakefield estates to repay the Herrick estate. The prosecutor said if not for an alert teller at the Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Volpe may have gotten away with her crimes.


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 St. George home. 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. The prosecutor noted that Wakefield had intended for her estate to go to a private school that provided her a scholarship after her father died. The money was intended to provide scholarships to the next generations of students.

“That would have been her legacy,” Robbin told the judge.

Volpe apologized in court, saying she still doesn’t know why she stole the money.

“I wasn’t thinking. I was ego driven to appear successful and receive the love that I wanted,” Volpe said.


The prosecutor said courts tend to treat white-collar criminals more leniently because they look like the people who decide their fate.

Hendrick died Dec. 20, 2014, at 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 because of lack of funds.

The Maine Supreme Court accepted the surrender of Volpe’s license in lieu of disciplinary action in August 2016. Justice Andrew Mead impounded all the documents related to the matter, but Hendrick’s grandson, Shane Hendrick, of Camden, released the paperwork in 2016.

Volpe initially had been the personal representative for Hendrick’s estate after Hendrick died, but withdrew before the estate was probated. She repaid the Hendrick 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 occurred in multiple bank transactions over a period of years.

Volpe was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1977.

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