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TAMPA, FL—U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that a federal jury today found Marian I. Morgan (57, Sarasota) guilty of 22 separate charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, interstate/foreign transportation of stolen funds, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. Morgan faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge (count 1), 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud charge (counts 2-8), 10 years in federal prison for each interstate/foreign transportation of stolen funds (counts 9-13), 10 years in federal prison for each money laundering charge (counts 14-19) and three years in federal prison for each charge of filing a false tax return (counts 20-22). Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 20, 2011.
Marian I. Morgan was originally indicted on December 17, 2009. She was subsequently charged by a superseding indictment on May 31, 2011. Her husband, John Morgan was also indicted. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges on June 21, 2011.
According to the evidence presented during the seventeen days of trial, Marian and John Morgan, who resided in Sarasota, Florida, were principals of a company named Morgan European Holdings from about 2005 to 2009. They promoted sham “high yield/prime bank note” investment programs through the company, promising investors that they would receive returns of 200-300 percent in three months and that their principal funds would be held safe in an escrow account in Denmark. Evidence at trial, however, showed that the Morgans spent approximately $11 million of investor money on themselves soon after investors wired the funds to the escrow account. The Morgans purchased luxury automobiles, a waterfront mansion, and numerous luxury items with investor funds. When investors inquired about the status of their investments, Marian I. Morgan sent repeated “lulling” communications, assuring the investors that their funds were safe in the escrow account. Between 2005 and 2009, the evidence showed that the Morgans took in over $28 million in investor funds and returned some funds in the form of Ponzi payments.
In June 2009, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an enforcement action in the Middle District of Florida against the Morgans and others alleging investment fraud. The evidence at trial showed that in response to the SEC action, Marian I. Morgan told investors to lie to SEC and not cooperate with the agency. When she and her husband fled the United States and did not return as ordered for a hearing in that case on July 16, 2009, United States District Judge Richard Lazzara issued a warrant for their arrest. The Morgans were arrested in August 2009 in the island nation of Sri Lanka after attempting to pass a forged financial instrument and were returned by federal agents to the United States in December 2009.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. The Danish National Police also cooperated in the investigation of this case. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cherie L. Krigsman and Robert T. Monk.