Sarasota man sentenced in fraud case

MANATEE — A Sarasota man who enticed more than 80 investors to put $28 million in what turned out to be a fraudulent investment scheme was sentenced in Tampa Monday to 10 years and one month in federal prison.

John S. Morgan’s Morgan European Holdings APS turned out to be a ploy to provide himself and his wife a Sarasota waterfront residence, a Maserati and two Jaguar automobiles and other material benefits gained through his investors’ cash, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew also ordered Morgan to forfeit a 2003 Fountain Lightning Fever Powerboat and to pay back $10,085,375, the amount that he stole from investors, the report states.

From March, 2005 through August, 2009, Morgan, his wife, Marian I. Morgan and others told customers his holding company dealt in “prime bank instrument trading programs,” the release states.

The Morgans told investors they would realize returns of 30 percent to 70 percent per month or 200 percent in 90-to-120-day periods and that investor funds would never be put at risk, the release states.

To build confidence, the Morgans also told customers that their funds would be held in a Danske Bank maintained by a Danish attorney.The attorney, Eli Hecksher, also has been charged as a co-conspirator in the scheme, the release adds.

Marian Morgan faces sentencing before Bucklew on Dec. 20.