LEWISTON — Federal agents swarmed two floors of a downtown office building during the morning and early afternoon Wednesday.

A man who identified himself as a part owner of Global Home Health Care, one of the offices in the building, told the Sun Journal that a federal agency served him with a subpoena investigating allegations of fraud.

Garaad Dees said his organization provides in-home non-medical health care-related services, including cooking and bathing. Those services are paid by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through Elder Independence of Maine, he said.

The agents told Dees that three-quarters of cases with similar allegations turn out to be nothing. No charges had been filed as of 1 p.m., Dees said.

He was allowed to leave his office after agents confiscated his cell phone.

According to John Martins, director of communications for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the state was notified late Tuesday night to the possibility of a federal raid in Lewiston, but was not informed of the target of raid.

Typically, Martins said, “if the feds are involved, it relates to one of the federal benefit programs … a federal program that would be under scrutiny.”

At least a dozen agents wearing badges identifying them as FBI and agents with the federal Office of the Inspector General were removing documents in backpacks from an office or offices on the fourth and fifth floors of The Professional Building at 145 Lisbon St.

Later in the afternoon, officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were also seen at the building.

The building’s directory shows various occupants for those floors, including offices for attorneys Lillian Kennedy, Michael Doherty and Decent Home Care, Inc. on the fourth floor. The fifth floor is occupied, according to the directory, by Global Home Health, licensed social worker Sharon Bell and the Somali Bantu Community office.

Agents shut down public access to back end of the fourth floor and the entire fifth floor. Access to the upper floor was allowed via elevator.

Agents occupying those two floors referred all inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland. U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby said Wednesday her office had no comment on the raid.
Other than Global Home Health Care, exactly which offices on those two floors were the target of the raid was not immediately known.

One of the agents identified himself as working for forensics computer services at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Stephanie Beck, a counselor with an office on the sixth floor, said federal agents began arriving at 9:30 a.m. Agents were still in the building as of early afternoon.

Beck said the excitement in the building caused several counseling clients to cancel their appointments or to just not show up.

The Lewiston Police Department assisted federal agents with the raid, and local officers were instructed not to discuss which office or offices were the target of the investigation.

Editor’s note posted June 4: The two law offices of Lillian Kennedy and Mike Doherty were not targets of the federal raid, nor did any federal agents enter their offices on June 3.

View Larger Map

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or 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.