More fraud charges filed against former Oklahoma City attorney who is awaiting sentencing
Former Oklahoma City attorney John Merritt faces three new federal charges. He already is awaiting sentencing for stealing $430,451 from children after getting them settlements in lawsuits over car accidents.
Former Oklahoma City attorney John Milton Merritt was accused Thursday in two new criminal charges of getting almost $2.6 million in loans through fraud.
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Merritt, 74, was accused in a criminal charge Wednesday of forging a Texas attorney's name on settlement checks in order to keep the attorney's share.
The three charges were filed in Oklahoma City federal court. His attorney, Mack Martin, declined to comment.
Merritt already is awaiting sentencing in federal court for stealing $430,451 from the settlements of children he had represented in lawsuits over car wrecks. He pleaded guilty in July.
Prosecutors allege he actually stole more than $1 million from clients.
Merritt filed hundreds of product-liability lawsuits in four decades as an attorney and had been regarded as a hard worker who cared deeply for his clients.
He resigned as an attorney last year after coming under investigation.
In the charges filed Thursday, prosecutors specifically allege Merritt for years sent fraudulent statements and fictitious tax returns to two lenders to keep open lines of credit. The lenders were identified as Quail Creek Bank of Oklahoma City and Advocate Capital Inc., a Tennessee company.
In the charge filed Wednesday, prosecutors allege Merritt in 2011 forged Dallas attorney Windle Turley's name on lawsuit settlement checks totaling $500,000. Turley had loaned Merritt funds to complete the lawsuit, prosecutors said.
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