Oklahoma City Attorney Who Stole from Orphans Dies before Sentencing
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Summary: Former Oklahoma City attorney John Milton Merritt died on Sunday before he could be sentenced for the crimes of stealing from four orphaned girls and an injured boy, to which he had pled guilty. Merritt died from illness before the courts could get around to his sentencing.
A former prominent attorney of Oklahoma City, John Milton Merritt, died on Sunday from illness News OK reported. Merritt was a prominent personal injury attorney and an expert of product-liability matters. In 2012, Merritt pled guilty to 12 counts of an indictment brought against him for stealing the money of orphaned children.
An FBI press release at the time mentions that while representing clients who were orphaned by the death of their parents in a 2002 automobile accident, Merritt developed a scheme to remove funds from the orphan's trust account that had been funded with the proceeds from the settlement reached th a tire manufacturer and an auto maker.
To carry out his scheme, in October, 2005, Merritt gave a counterfeited Cleveland County Court Order directing the concerned bank to release the funds belonging to the orphans to Merritt. He then deposited the funds into his law firm's operating account and spent them for operations of the law firm and not for the benefit of the orphans.
Over the following years, Merritt used several forged court orders directing the bank to release the money belonging to the orphans to him. Each time he deposited the money into his law firm's account. By 2007, there was no money left in the trust accounts of the orphans.
Emboldened by his successes, in April 2011, Merritt created a forged document purporting to be an Order of Chief United States District Judge Miles-LaGrange to transfer the money from the trust account of another minor child who had been injured in an automobile accident. Then he followed up with another forged order to remove more funds from the injured child's account.
After being caught, he said that he always intended to pay back the money, but was prevented by the federal investigation going on in the matter.
Be that as it may, even if the law caught up to him, he passed away before he could be sentenced in courts.
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