SALT LAKE CITY — A Holladay man who ran a bank fraud scheme in which he would bounce checks after offering lines of credit or attempting to buy stock pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday.
Shaun Gregory Morgan, a native of New Zealand, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud before U.S. District Judge Dee Benson. The judge said he had spoken with attorneys for both Morgan and the government and they had agreed on a five-year sentence, followed by a supervised release term of another five years. Morgan was also asked to forfeit any property gained from his criminal acts.
Defense attorney Steve McCaughey said his client has already forfeited $77,000. Morgan was sentenced to the agreed-upon sentence of five years immediately after he entered his plea. The judge noted that Morgan will most likely not serve his term of supervised release, as he is expected to be deported as soon as his prison term ends.
Morgan was originally indicted on a charge of bank fraud in March 2003, but a superseding indictment was filed after more victims came forward with 19 additional charges of wire fraud and mail fraud. Those 19 counts were dismissed after Morgan entered his guilty plea.
The initial bank fraud charge stemmed from an incident in which Morgan used a bogus cashier's check to purchase stock in a company from an attorney. The $535,000 check was given to Zions Bank to be deposited in the attorney's trust account, but it bounced. Morgan then allegedly used money from another business deal to cover the $535,000 and received a 49 percent interest in the company.
The second indictment alleged that Morgan submitted several more forged checks while posing as an international banker.
According to the indictment, Morgan created several businesses that operated out of offices located in South Jordan. Federal prosecutors said Morgan represented to people that he was an officer of First Mutual, a bank located in London. Morgan also reportedly created a Web site for First Mutual that stated the business had locations in London; New York; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Wilmington, Del.; and Los Angeles. The Web site listed several officers and directors, including Morgan as chief executive officer.
Charges state Morgan would also offer lines of credit to businesses in exchange for advance fees. In January 2008, Morgan offered Global Wealth Partners a $13 million revolving line of credit. Morgan required the company to pledge more than $2.5 million in collateral before informing Global Wealth Partners that he had to close the account "for compliance reasons." Morgan gave the company a $2 million cashier's check with a fake routing number. When the check failed to clear at Mountain America Credit Union, Morgan gave the company another cashier's check, which also bounced.
Around that same time, federal prosecutors say, Morgan entered into agreements with several limited-liability companies to purchase their interest in rental properties. They say Morgan again used counterfeit cashier's checks and transferred title to the properties before the checks came back because of insufficient funds.
A civil case against Morgan involving potential additional forfeitures is pending. He asked that the judge send him to the federal prison in Safford, Ariz.
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