An indictment was returned on Thursday charging Thomas M. Murtha, 61, of Newtown, CT, and Birmingham, MI, with four counts of wire fraud.
Murtha previously operated a law practice in Bridgeport.
The indictment by a grand jury sitting in New Haven was announced by Deirdre M. Daly, US Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
As alleged in the indictment, between approximately November 2011 and 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.
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.
In furtherance of the fraud, Murtha used false and forged documents, including at least one mortgage and a trust document.
It is alleged that Murtha 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 term of imprisonment of 20 years 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 proceeds of the alleged fraud scheme.
Murtha was arrested on a criminal complaint on April 5, 2017, and is released on a $10,000 bond. His arraignment is not yet scheduled.
In September 2016, Murtha resigned from the bar after three grievance complaints were filed against him.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Daly noted that 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 encouraged 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.