Attorney For OKC Storm Shelter Scam Suspect Speaks Out - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Attorney For OKC Storm Shelter Scam Suspect Speaks Out

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"Right now we maintain Mr. Wheeler has done nothing wrong, nothing illegal," said John Martino, who is representing Wheeler on the embezzlement charge. "Right now we maintain Mr. Wheeler has done nothing wrong, nothing illegal," said John Martino, who is representing Wheeler on the embezzlement charge.
Taylor Wheeler, 31, turned himself in last week after the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office charged him with one count of felony embezzlement. Taylor Wheeler, 31, turned himself in last week after the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office charged him with one count of felony embezzlement.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The attorney for an Oklahoma man charged with embezzling thousands of dollars in an alleged storm shelter scam is speaking out about his client.

Taylor Wheeler, 31, turned himself in last week after the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office charged him with one count of felony embezzlement.

"Right now we maintain Mr. Wheeler has done nothing wrong, nothing illegal," said John Martino, who is representing Wheeler on the embezzlement charge.

He is not the attorney who represented him in the civil matters filed in Oklahoma County Court. Martino says he has a meeting scheduled with the Attorney General's office Tuesday about the felony charge. He says the only thing his client is guilty of is being a bad businessman.

"He maintains his innocence," said Martino. "He is innocent until proven guilty.

Wheeler stands accused of accepting more than $16,000 to build a storm shelter for local eye doctor Kong Chang inside his home. That was two years ago. Chang says to this day nothing has been done.

"He said well I need a big deposit for it and then just took off after he got the money," said Chang, who is listed as the victim in the alleged shelter scheme. "So I'm glad they caught him and are holding him accountable now."

"We don't agree with the allegations as they were written and listed in the charging document," said Martino. "Ultimately though it will be resolved with the Attorney General's office."

Martino acknowledges that there were two judgements levied against Wheeler in at least two other civil cases, where two other families - and even his own relative -- claim that he scammed them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"But those debts were discharged lawfully in bankruptcy," said Martino.

But those who have sought restitution in their cases disagree, and say Wheeler needs to be held accountable. People like Betty Roberts, who says Wheeler took $115,000 to build her dream home and didn't finish the job.

"Doesn't matter how big or small, a scam is a scam," said Roberts.

“Mr. Wheeler is not a scam artist," said Martino. "Mr. Wheeler is not and has not intended to defraud anyone. These are matters of bad business practices that we don't believe amount to anything criminal from a standpoint of these prior issues that he'd had."

The Attorney General's office confirms they are investigating three other claims against Wheeler. Martino says Wheeler has lost his job as a result of these charges and the subsequent media attention.

"Mr. Wheeler is not and never was an intentional scam artist," said Martino. "He was never getting involved in these business dealings with the intention of defrauding people. It was something that happened as a function of bad business. "

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