ROCKLAND  A judge agreed to approve a $693,000 attachment on properties owned by a company and three of its members who are accused of defrauding an elderly couple.

The lawyer for the business denies the allegations and said the business and its members engaged in legitimate business transactions and the couple will be repaid.

Justice Bruce Mallonee approved the attachment on July 5 in the Knox County court in a civil lawsuit filed the same day by Gerald and Marianne Lassell of Washington against SRB Homes LLC; Robert L. Milliken II and Robin S. Milliken of Union; and Branden L. Rubenstein of Jefferson. The three people are listed as registered members of SRB.

Justice Mallonee approved the attachment without a hearing, stating in his decision that “there is a clear danger that the Defendants if notified in advance of attachment of property will remove it from the state or will conceal it  or will otherwise make it unavailable to satisfy a judgment.”

He also stated that based on the information filed with the court the Lassells will more likely than not recover a judgment equal to or greater than the $693,000.

The attachment order was filed Aug. 2 in the registries of deeds in Knox, Lincoln, and Kennebec counties where the defendants in the lawsuit own properties.

The lawsuit alleges that SRB had been flipping houses and eventually began borrowing money from the Lassells who are now each 90 years old. The civil lawsuit claims the defendants took out 18 loans from the couple ranging in amounts from $6,500 to $80,000 beginning in 2015 but failed to repay many of them, adding up to $468,000 in unpaid principal and $225,000 in interest. The loans were taken out as late as 2019.

SRB is listed in its annual report as being involved in real estate investing, buying, rehab, selling, and leasing of real estate. The Lassells met Robin Milliken in 2015 after the elderly couple posted an ad in Uncle Henry’s seeking assistance in renovating and selling the house of Gerald Lassells’ late parents.

The lawsuit makes frequent references to Robin Milliken and transactions with the Lassells on behalf of SRB. The other two defendants are only referenced as being managers of SRB.

The lawsuit states that SRB would acquire properties, and take out loans with verbal agreements with the Lassells to repay each of the loans within a year at 10 percent interest. In many of those cases, the loans were not repaid as agreed to or at lesser amounts, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit contends the Lassells have loaned a sizeable portion of their life savings that the defendants had no intention of repaying.

“Robin Milliken repeatedly stopped by the Plaintiffs’ home, chatting with them in a friendly manner, offering to massage Mrs. Lassell’s feet, bringing small gifts such as groceries and premade dinners, and acting in such a way as grow Plaintiffs’ trust and affections,” the lawsuit states.

The suit further alleges that Robin Milliken touted herself as an advocate for victims in the unrelated Castle Builders case in Union in which a contractor, Malcolm Stewart, is accused of taking money from more than 50 customers in 2018-2019 and either not doing the work or doing partial, shabby work. The Stewart case — both the civil and criminal — remains pending in the court. The suit points out that Robin Milliken made statements to the media promoting herself as an advocate for the victims in the Castle Builders case.

“This self-promotion is, for lack of a better word, shameless.  Mrs. Milliken has a demonstrable track record of going out of her way to seem publicly virtuous all while privately stealing from the Lassells,” the civil lawsuit filed by the Lassells claims.

The lawsuit further contends she tried to involve herself in the Lassells’ estate planning which showed that the defendants had no intention to repay the Lassells “while they live and breathe.” Instead, the lawsuit said the Lassells had been asked to assign the debt to their estate.

Attorney Steven Peterson, who represents the Millikens, said there was absolutely no fraud involved. Peterson said the Lassells had been lending money to the business to repair houses and then sell them at a profit. Many of those houses are still in the process of being upgraded before sale.

“They will be paid in full,” he said.

Peterson maintained the Millikens had repeatedly asked to put the loan agreements in writing but the Lassells wouldn’t sign them.

“The Millikens hope to work together with them and make everyone whole,” he said.

The Lassells are represented by attorneys Stephen Smith and Carl Woock.

The case is a civil lawsuit filed by the couple and not a criminal case. SRB and the defendants have not yet been formally served with the lawsuit and thus have not filed a formal response to the allegations in court.