Attorney Charged with Defrauding Clients
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that THOMAS M. MURTHA, 61, of Newtown, has been charged by a federal criminal complaint with wire fraud related to his alleged theft of more than $900,000 from victims.
MURTHA was arrested on April 5, 2017, in Michigan. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris in Bay City, Michigan, and was released on a $10,000 bond.
As alleged in the criminal complaint, MURTHA operated a law practice under the name Maher & Murtha LLC in Bridgeport. Beginning in approximately August 2015, MURTHA defrauded five victims of a total of more than $900,000. As part of the scheme, MURTHA made materially false statements to induce one victim to invest more than $600,000, purportedly for real estate investments. He also was retained to handle real estate transactions on behalf of other victims and, instead of remitting funds to the appropriate parties, converted the funds to his own use.
The complaint further alleges, in December 2015, MURTHA told the victim of his real estate investment scheme that he needed an additional $100,000 to purchase a $1.5 million commercial property in Bethel, and that a buyer would purchase the property in four to six months to convert it to condominiums. After the victim wired the money, MURTHA used the funds in connection with the purchase, in his own name, of a $725,000 house in Birmingham, Michigan.
In September 2016, MURTHA resigned from the bar after three grievance complaints were filed against him.
The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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 Laraia and David Huang, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.