Nashville, TN – An attorney tasked with overseeing a fund established for the daughter of a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in the line of duty has been federally charged for allegedly stealing more than $1.15 million from the trust fund.
Jack Garton, 54, was charged with aggravated identity theft, tax fraud, and wire fraud in U.S. District Court on Dec. 6, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran said in a press release, according to the Tennessean.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Larkins, 31, was killed in the line of duty on July 8, 2005, as he was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 40, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
During the stop, a tractor-trailer veered off of the road and slammed into Trooper Larkins, killing him instantly.
The five-year veteran of the force left behind his wife and young daughter.
In 2007, Garton was appointed to manage a $2.6 million trust fund that was established for Trooper Larkins’ daughter, Carina Larkins, using settlement money from a wrongful death suit against the trucking company, the Tennessean reported.
According to court documents, Garton withdrew money from the girl’s trust account – as well as from the accounts of six other unrelated victims – from 2009 through 2017.
Garton allegedly took over $165,000 from the other victims, and stole a staggering $1.15 million from the trooper’s daughter - all for his personal use.
The attorney did not report the stolen funds or approximately $33,500 in other legal fees on his income taxes, and intended to defraud the Internal Revenue Service in excess of $350,000, according to investigators.
Garton, an Army special forces veteran who previously served as the mayor of Burns, was suspended from practicing law in 2017 in light of the investigation, the Tennessean reported.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud, and could be sentenced to up to three years if convicted of tax fraud.
Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year sentence, and he would also be required to pay up to $250,000 in fines on each count and restitution to his victims, if convicted.