Judge Rules Jury Should Decide if Woman Defrauded Journalists
Jul. 17, 1996
ATLANTA (AP) _ A City Court judge said there was enough evidence for a jury to decide if a Texas woman defrauded international journalists who rented apartments through her during the Olympics.
Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Catherine Malicki said Tuesday a jury should decide if Meggen Mills, president of Atlanta Corporate Key, is guilty of six counts of theft by deception. She is free on $100,000 bond.
Her attorney, Bruce Morris, argued that Mills never intended to deceive anyone, and that she delivered some of the promised apartments but was arrested before others were due. Morris said she plans to refund the balance owed any of the journalists.
But the judge ruled that since Mills closed up shop July 5 in the Mayfair Apartments, fired her employees and packed her bags to return to Dallas with the remaining money, that constituted criminal intent.
``As late as July 8 the defendant was telling people their rooms were being prepped,'' the judge said.
Mills, who was arrested July 8, pleaded innocent to the charges Monday.
Journalists from six news and broadcast agencies say they paid Mills a total of more than $1 million for apartments, rental cars and cellular phones during the Olympics.
The alleged scam first came to light when reporters for television stations in Brazil, Chile and Mexico complained to Atlanta police. A satellite services company from Greenwich, Conn., also complained.