Local News

Search Continues For Charged Chapel Hill Attorney

Posted August 8, 2006

— Authorities continue to investigate the disappearance of a prominent Chapel Hill attorney charged with embezzlement.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall confirmed Thursday that the police, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation, has checked the activity of John McCormick's bank accounts and credit cards, but would not say what investigators have found.

McCormick vanished on July 10, around the same time that more than $1 million disappeared from his clients' bank accounts. His car was found abandoned at the Orange County entrance to Duke Forest.

Investigators have also looked at airline logs in an effort to track McCormick. His photo is also listed in a national crime database that would alert law enforcement officials elsewhere about his status.

If he's arrested, Woodall said, it is likely more charges will follow.

In legal circles, McCormick had a reputation for being a solid attorney, according to some who know him.

"He was very professional," said attorney Michael Parker. "John took care of business."

But how he took care of business is what is now in question. Last week, he was charged with embezzlement for allegedly stealing $800,000 from D.R. Horton. Another client has reported about $300,000 missing.

"If you'd told me to pick a lawyer who'll run off with clients' money, John would be at the bottom of my list," Parker said. "I'm shocked."

Court documents show McCormick had recent surgery. Friends said it was for prostate cancer but insist he was doing well. He and his wife, Jan McCormick, had just celebrated their 27-year anniversary.

Earlier this week, she filed a civil complaint against her husband saying McCormick abandoned her. In the filing, she sought part of his property, as well as "post-separation support and-or alimony."

The couple had three children together, Jan McCormick said in the filing.


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