The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed suit against two Sarasota residents for bilking investors out of $11 million.
John and Marian Morgan, through their company, Morgan European Holdings, allegedly solicited investments in fictitious prime bank trading programs in 2006 and 2007. Also charged were Stephen Bowman, of Omaha, Neb., and Thomas Woodcock Jr., of Rockwall, Texas.
According to the SEC complaint, the Morgans and their co-defendants used investor funds for purposes undisclosed to the investors, including the Morgans’ mortgage payments, Bowman’s gambling habit and Ponzi payments to other investors.
The Morgans and Bowman allegedly promised investors imminent payment of their principal and returns, but none of the investments was registered with the SEC, nor were any of the defendants registered broker-dealers.
The SEC's complaint alleges: “when investors complained about not receiving payments from the bank trading program, the Morgans and Bowman responded by reassuring investors that the trading program was successful, their funds were safe, and they would be paid as soon as various administrative issues were resolved. Among the excuses provided was that investors' distributions would be made after payments to certain humanitarian project participants. But the defendants only repaid some investors their principal by using other investors' funds. Other investors were not paid any amounts.”
John and Marian Morgan own a 2,721-square-foot waterfront home at 3514 Tangier Terrace. That’s in the San Remo neighborhood, just east of the Siesta Drive bridge. According to Sarasota County property records, the home is valued at $1.5 million.
But a neighbor said while the Morgans own the home, they have family living there now. He said the Morgans moved to the Sorrento Shores area.
When informed of the allegations against the Morgans, the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said:
“I’m not surprised.”
A hearing on the case has been scheduled for June 25.