NEWTOWN, Conn. — A federal grand jury indicted a 61-year-old former lawyer from Newtown on Wednesday on charges of defrauding clients, family members and friends of over $1.9 million, prosecutors said.
Thomas M. Murtha, who previously had a law office in Bridgeport, was indicted on four counts of federal wire fraud, said Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.
From November 2011 to April 2017, Murtha fraudulently obtained and converted hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims, including clients of his law practice, family members and friends, said the indictment, handed down by a grand jury in New Haven.
Murtha falsely represented to client-victims that he had safeguarded and disbursed the proceeds from legal representations when, in fact, he had used their money for his own benefit, including making payments to other victims. He also used false and forged documents, including at least one mortgage and a trust document.
Murtha also used some of the stolen funds to purchase a $725,000 house in Michigan, a 2.11 carat diamond engagement ring, and other items.
If convicted, Murtha faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count of the indictment.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of the Michigan house and the engagement ring, as well as a money judgment of at least $1,991,628.83, which constitutes the proceeds of the alleged fraud scheme, Daly said.
He was arrested on a criminal complaint on April 5 and was released on $10,000 bond. His arraignment has not been scheduled.
Last September, Murtha resigned from the bar after three grievance complaints were filed against him.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information that may be helpful to the investigation, or those who believe they have been victimized by this alleged scheme, are asked to to contact Detective Robert McKiernan at 203-382-6660.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Greenwich Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Laraia and David Huang.
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