More than a month after they failed to appear for a federal court hearing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed criminal charges against John and Marian Morgan, the Sarasota couple accused of running an international Ponzi scheme.
The couple is currently jailed in Sri Lanka for trying to pass a bad check worth $1.6 million in that country.
The U.S. Attorney’s office has begun the extradition process.
The Morgans allegedly bilked investors out of at least $10 million and used the money to pay their mortgages. In Sarasota alone, the couple owns three waterfront properties, each valued in the millions.
During a June 25 court hearing, a federal judge in Tampa ordered the couple to halt investments through their company, Morgan European Holdings, which has offices in Sarasota and Denmark. But just days later, Marian Morgan sent an e-mail to investors telling them that they would be seeing their money soon, that it was safe and out of the jurisdiction of U.S. authorities. She also stated that the couple had “high tailed it out of Tampa and flew back overnight to Europe,” where they could not be served legal papers.
Because they continued to work on their alleged investment scheme, the judge ordered them back to court July 16 to face possible contempt charges. But the Morgans did not appear in court and an arrest warrant was issued.
A month later, the couple was arrested in Sri Lanka.
Steve Cole, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, said there is no timetable as to when the Morgans may be brought back to the United States to face charges.
“It can be a lengthy process,” he said.
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