JASPER, Ga. - A veteran north Georgia attorney remained in jail after a judge ruled he was too much of a risk to be released on bond. The decision came after prosecutors revealed information about one embarrassing purchase attorney Mark Miller allegedly made using his clients' money, revelation that even surprised his wife.
The FOX 5 I-Team first reported how a grand jury indicted the Jasper attorney, accusing him of stealing at least $1.5 million from his clients. He pleaded not guilty.
Miller returned to court Tuesday, not in his customary coat and tie but wearing an orange jail uniform, arguing he doesn't deserve to spend anymore time behind bars awaiting trial.
"We believe it would not be appropriate to hold Mr. Miller without bond," requested defense attorney Scott Poole.
In June, a Pickens County grand jury indicted Miller on charges that rocked this north Georgia community. At least $1.5 million of his clients' money siphoned off, according to investigators, to fund a lavish lifestyle. That included multiple trips to Disney World, captured in pictures from Miller's publicly accessible Facebook page.
Prosecutors said much of the money came from a single client -- Katie Parker's late mother Paulette, who wanted to make sure her daughter was taken care of when she died.
Miller has refused to explain to the courts what he did with Parker's money, even skipping a hearing before his indictment where he was jailed on contempt charges.
"I hope nobody else gets caught up like this and trusts someone who wasn't there for them," Katie's father Perry lamented when he learned about the indictment in June.
Miller's Facebook page also included pictures of his work with the well-known charity the Lion's Club International. He traveled around the world attending conferences, accepting promotions, pushing the cause.
Following his arrest, the charity kicked out Miller. His wife Leslie remains with the organization.
Just this week, Mark Miller was hit with two more felonies, including one with a surprise victim -- $8550 stolen from the Jasper Lion's Club.
Miller's wife Leslie traveled with him on many of his trips, the elementary school teacher also part of all those Disney vacations.
"There is a lot that Mrs. Miller may not know about her husband and not only what he has hidden from her but what he has hidden from this community," warned Pickens County District Attorney Alison Sosebee.
Leslie Miller was the key witness in this latest attempt to convince the court her husband was no risk if set free. She testified she had no clue her husband was suspected of mishandling clients' money until she heard about his arrest.
"How was it your belief that you were able to fund this type of lifestyle?" asked DA Sosebee.
"Well, we shared expenses and I paid for some things and he paid for most things." Ms. Miller replied.
But then the DA asked about two specific charges investigators say Miller made using his clients' money: around $100 spent at a website called Helixstudios.com.
"Are you aware that Helixstudios.com is a gay pornography website?" Sosebee asked.
"No I did not."
"Would you agree with me there are things you do not know about your husband?"
"Apparently so," Ms. Miller agreed.
Judge Richard Winegarden agreed as well. Too much not known about Mark Miller to risk setting him free.
"I will let Mr. Miller out on bond when I feel comfortable doing so," he told the courtroom. "And I don't."
Miller will be allowed up to four visits to medical professionals to treat for possible suicidal tendencies judge Winegarden ruled. But those trips will be while in custody and he must return to jail.
"We're disappointed with the ruling," attorney Poole said after the hearing. He also stressed the defense has been provided no records that tie Miller directly to the gay porn site charges.
"There's a possibility it was a stolen credit card," he speculated. "If it was a stolen credit card number, who knows who was using it?"
Pickens County investigators say additional charges are possible.