Union officials face embezzlement charges

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Wichita Falls woman has been indicted for allegedly stealing thousands from a local union where she once worked. Her former husband is also charged with stealing funds from the same union. Teri Coan, also known as Teri Merritt, was charged in 78th District Court with misapplication of fiduciary property.

Her former husband, Orville Merritt, also had a criminal case filed by the District Attorney in August.

According to a Federal Election Commission campaign finance report site, both were salaried employees of Local Laborers Union 11-68, with offices in the Union Square building.

Coan was listed as Office Manager and Administrative Assistant, and Merritt as Business Manager and Treasurer. A senior criminal investigator for the Department of Labor said the investigation led to similar charges against Merritt.

Affidavits alleged that from January to August of 2015, Coan used her position as office manager to write herself checks and charge the union credit card to pay for personal expenses such as rent and groceries. The investigator said she wrote 12 checks to herself totalling almost $35,000 and they were entered into the records as payments to vendors and other false expenses.

He said she also charged about $8,000 on the union’s bank card.

Merritt’s affidavit alleged he used the union credit card between April 2014 and August 2015 for $3,300 of purchases that included televisions and personal care products between April 2014 and August 2015. He has a court appearance scheduled Friday.

According to Unionfacts.com, Merritt had a salary of $41,000 and Coan was paid $35,000.

According to court records, Coan filed for divorce from Merritt and it was granted in 2016.

Records also show Coan filed for divorce from another man last January and two previous convictions for theft.

They also show previous arrests of Merritt for attempted theft in 2000 and theft in 1995.

Both Merritt and Coan had arrests for family violence in 2011.

Coan is out of jail on bond, while records show Merritt is still jailed, with previous charges for possession of drugs and online impersonation.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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