Lawyer faces drug charges

Friday, October 24, 2003

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An lawyer was charged Thursday with accepting methamphetamine as payment for his fees.

Todd A. McGraw, 34, of Independence, was charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with possession of a controlled substance. According to court documents, police received a tip in June that McGraw was receiving meth as payment for his attorney services. The next month, authorities interviewed a client of McGraw who said he had paid McGraw with meth, marijuana and cash.

The Jackson County Drug Task then set up an undercover operation.

An undercover officer retained McGraw in September to represent him in a fictitious drug case.

The officer told McGraw he would need to continue to sell meth to pay for attorney fees. McGraw told the detective to "continue business as usual and not to trust anyone," according to the probable cause statement.

In October, the officer met McGraw at his home and offered him $500 as part of his attorney fees. McGraw asked the undercover officer if he wanted to smoke a bowl with him. The officer said he could not get high then but could supply McGraw with meth later.

McGraw then told the officer that he accepted payments from some of his clients in the form of meth. But he told the officer meth "does not pay for child support." McGraw said he would be willing to take 75 percent of his fees in cash and the rest in meth, according to court records.

On Wednesday, McGraw and the detective set up a meeting at an Independence restaurant. After the detective allegedly gave McGraw $500 and a bag of meth, authorities took McGraw into custody.

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