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Ex-Newtown Lawyer Admits To Stealing $1.3M From Clients, Friends, Family

A former Newtown lawyer admits to stealing more than $1.3 million from his clients, according to the U.S. Justice Departmen
A former Newtown lawyer admits to stealing more than $1.3 million from his clients, according to the U.S. Justice Departmen Photo Credit: District of Connecticut

A former lawyer from Newtown admits to stealing more than $1.3 million from his clients, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Thomas M. Murtha, 62, of Birmingham, MI, and former.y of Newtown pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 30 to one count of wire fraud related to his theft of more than a million dollars from victims, according to John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut,

According to court documents and statements made in court, Murtha operated a law practice under the name Maher & Murtha LLC in Bridgeport.

Murtha stole at least $1.3 million from more than 20 individuals, including law clients, friends and family members, federal officials said.

More than $516,000 of the stolen funds were for the benefit of an individual with mental health issues. As part of the scheme, Murtha submitted false or forged documents to victims. He also incurred charges on credit cards in the names of others without their knowledge or permission.

The investigation revealed that Murtha used some of the stolen funds in connection with the purchase of a $725,000 house in Michigan.

In September 2016, Murtha resigned from the bar after three grievance complaints were filed against him. He was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on April 5, 2017, and a grand jury returned a multi-count indictment against him on Aug. 16, 2017.

Murtha is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea on Sept. 11, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Murtha has agreed to pay total restitution of nearly $1.4 million and to forfeit his interests in the house in Michigan and a 2.11 carat diamond engagement ring that the government has seized.

Murtha was released on a $10,000 bond pending sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Greenwich Police Department, with the assistance of the Connecticut Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer R. Laraia and David T. Huang.

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