Attorney Accused of Embezzling $1.8 Million From Woman's Estate

A Woodbury attorney has been arrested on federal charges, accused of stealing more than $1.8 million from the estate of an Oxford woman who died in 2010.

When Miriam S. Strong died on July 2, 2010, her will left money, property and other items to several individuals, along with the Town of Oxford, the State of Connecticut and several religious and other charitable entities, including the creation of a scholarship fund for college-bound Oxford residents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Peter M. Clark, 57, of Woodbury, was co-executor of the Strong’s estate, but he was removed in March after $1.8 million the estate bequeathed to the town was reported missing.

He had drafted the will and federal officials said they determined that he took at least $1.8 million from it for his own use.

Clark was arrested at his home on Thursday morning, has been charged with one count of mail fraud and appeared in court in New Haven.

He will be released after posting a $500,000 bond co-signed by family members, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Town officials met with state police in March after the funds were reported missing.

"This theft is significant to the town as we were named as beneficiaries of the residual estate," Oxford First Selectman George R. Temple, said in a statement in March. "The money was earmarked by the will for use in the construction of a library, a scholarship fund for Oxford High School and the purchase of open space."

At the time, Clark was removed as the executor of the estate.

"I knew Miriam Strong. She was a very energetic focused individual who gave freely of her time," Temple said. "She loved Oxford as evidenced by her very generous bequest to the town. It is infuriating that her good intentions would be defeated by individual greed. We are all too familiar with the anger associated with being a victim of a crime as our former tax collector is serving time in Niantic Prison as a result of her embezzlement of public funds."

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