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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 16, 2018

Former Connecticut Attorney Sentenced to More Than 6 Years in Prison for Stealing Nearly $2 Million

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that THOMAS M. MURTHA, 62, of Birmingham, Michigan and formerly of Newtown, Connecticut, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 78 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing nearly $2 million from clients, friends and family members.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Murtha operated a law practice under the name Maher & Murtha LLC in Bridgeport.  Beginning in approximately November 2011, Murtha stole approximately $2 million from more than 20 individuals, including law clients, friends and family members.  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 Birmingham, Michigan, and on other lavish expenses, including the purchase and care of show horses.

Judge Shea ordered Murtha to pay total restitution of $1,994,467.15.  Murtha also has agreed to forfeit his interests in the house in Michigan and a 2.11 carat diamond engagement ring that the government has seized.

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 August 16, 2017.  On May 30, 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Murtha, who is released on bond, was ordered to report to the U.S. Marshals Service on November 26, 2018, to begin serving his sentence.

This matter was 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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer R. Laraia and David T. Huang.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated November 16, 2018