WF man sentenced for theft of union funds

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Wichita Falls man pleads guilty to stealing union funds in 2014 and 2015.

Orville Merritt was sentenced to three years in prison for misapplication of fiduciary property over $30,000. He also was given three years, plus 10 years probation, deferred, on a charge of online harassment. A drug possession charge filed in 2018 was dismissed.

Merritt and his former wife Terri Coan, also known as Terri Merritt, were charged with theft of the Wichita Falls local laborers union.

Coan was listed as office manager and administrative assistant, and Merritt as business manager and treasurer.

According to a Federal Election Commission campaign finance report site, both were once salaried employees of Local Laborers Union 11-68.

Merritt’s affidavit alleged he used the union credit card between April 2014 and August 2015 for $33,000 of purchases that included televisions and personal care products between April 2014 and August 2015.

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 totaling 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.

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