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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Former prosecutor charged in theft of $80,000

By James Tinley
Register Staff
A former Milford prosecutor was charged Wednesday with embezzling about $20,000 from his own union and stealing more than $60,000 intended for charity and crime victims, authorities said.
Former Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney L. Mark Hurley was charged with 198 counts of second-degree forgery and two counts of first- and fifth-degree larceny for allegedly pocketing money meant for crime victims.
The thefts allegedly occurred after criminal defendants agreed to pay money for restitution, which was supposed to be disseminated to the victims. The money was given to the prosecutors’ office, and Hurley is accused of keeping that money.
Hurley, 48, of 2 Danube Drive, Trumbull, also is accused of embezzling $18,000 to $21,000 from the Connecticut Association of Prosecutors, where he served as treasurer for 16 years.
Hurley’s attorney, Edward Gavin of Bridgeport, previously said he has offered the union a good-faith payment of $10,000 to show full restitution would be made. Gavin did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday to comment on his client’s arrest.
Hurley surrendered to state police Troop I in Bethany Wednesday morning when he learned there was a warrant for his arrest, state police said. He was released after posting $100,000 bail and will be arraigned Wednesday at Superior Court in Middletown.
“The allegations against Mr. Hurley are serious and go to the heart of our criminal justice system,” said his former boss, State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor. “Mr. Hurley is presumed innocent. If these charges are proven, however, justice needs to be served.”
Lawlor is in charge of the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District, where Hurley was the supervisory state’s attorney beginning June 9, 1995. Hurley was hired as a prosecutor in 1986.
Neither Lawlor nor Matthew C. Gedansky, the prosecutor handling the case, offered any comment on a potential sentence for Hurley if he is convicted.
“At this early stage, it’s not appropriate to make any comments,” said Gedansky, state’s attorney for the Tolland Judicial District.
A criminal investigation was launched in February 2007 by the State Police Major Crime Squad and the Tolland state’s attorney’s office, resulting in six arrest warrant affidavits being filed against Hurley, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesman. Hurley resigned in March 2007 after news of the probe became public.
“The investigation was time consuming, but successful in coming up with a significant number of charges,” Vance said. He said investigating a member of the Judicial Branch did not present an added difficulty. The Tolland state’s attorney is handling the case to “show no possibility of impropriety,” Vance said.


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