Former Dothan attorney who bilked millions from clients seeks early prison release

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Dothan (WTVY)-- A hearing next month could result in a former Dothan attorney being granted early release from prison. Frederick “Mitch” McNab was convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from clients.

Former Dothan attorney Frederick "Mitch" McNab is led from a courtroom after a judge sentenced him to prison for embezzlement. Photo from February, 2015.

The attorney for McNab recently filed a motion in Houston County Circuit Court asking a judge to reduce his five-year sentence. He went to prison in February 2015.

District Attorney Pat Jones opposes the motion. “Every victim that the District Attorney’s Office has been able to make contact with is absolutely opposed to this request,” he argues in a court filing.

McNab pleaded guilty to bilking clients out of about $10 million dollars. Among the victims is a paraplegic.

Prosecutors say McNab stole his $400,000 inheritance leaving him with only disability income.

One woman who testified at his sentencing hearing said McNab stole about a million dollars that she and her husband earned operating a small business. It is was life threatning. The couple, she said, was left with only social security income.

Another victim, Norma Jean Danford, testified McNab wrongly took half a million dollars from her. Danford told a judge she provided most of the financial support for her grandson, who suffered from cancer. She was 81 when McNab went to prison.

Prosecutors say McNab, now 56, used the stolen funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included expensive automobiles, a private airplane, and beach property.

Court records show before McNab pleaded guilty he sold these assets to avoid having them seized. After conviction, other assets were later confiscated but the amount recovered is not revealed in public records.

This isn’t the first time McNab, who was disbarred from practicing law, has attempted to buck the system. A few days after going to prison he was transferred to the Lawrence County Jail in north Alabama at the request of Sheriff Gene Mitchell. No reason was given by Mitchell or the Department of Corrections.

However, eight days later, and after his transfer ,WTVY reported McNab returned to Kilby Prison near Montgomery, where he is currently housed.

At that time, Alabama Representative Paul Lee (R-Dothan) told WTVY Governor Robert Bentley intervened and ordered McNab returned to Kilby after Lee, upon learning what occurred, complained.

Additionally, McNab was later transferred to the Elba Work Release Center but, again, returned to Kilby after only a few days.

Lee said he was unaware of McNab’s request for sentence reduction until contacted by WTVY this Thursday. He opposes it. “McNab took savings from those who worked hard to save money for retirement with his slick talking,” Lee said.

In the sentence reduction motion, Montgomery attorney Jim Debardelaben offers an alternative, suggesting McNab could again be placed in a work release program calling McNab a model inmate. District Attorney Jones also opposes that proposal.

Besides Jones, the Alabama Securities Commission is asking Circuit Judge P.B. McLaughlin to reject McNab’s request.

“There was repeated testimony by victims that this money was their nest egg for retirement, of which the majority of the victims are at this stage of life, and others describing that their lost funds were intended to help in caring for and paying medical expenses for loved ones diagnosed with cancer,” Associate Counsel Leslie Worrell wrote in her motion.

She claims McNab’s victims, ranging in age from 57 to 84, were duped by McNab in a securities fraud scheme.

The hearing on whether to reduce his sentence is scheduled for April 19.