New York Developer Robert Morgan Agrees to Settle Fraud Charges for Ponzi-Like Real Estate Investment Scheme
Litigation Release No. 24960 / November 9, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert C. Morgan, No. 19 Civ. 661 (EAW) (W.D.N.Y. filed May 22, 2019)
On November 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York entered a final judgment on consent against Robert C. Morgan, a New York residential and commercial real estate developer whom the Securities and Exchange Commission had charged with securities fraud in connection with a real estate investment scheme.
The SEC's complaint, filed on May 22, 2019, alleges that Morgan sold securities to more than 200 retail investors, many of whom invested through their retirement accounts. According to the complaint, although Morgan represented to investors that their money would be used to improve multifamily properties, Morgan and two entities he controlled instead diverted investor funds to facilitate payments to earlier investors, and made misrepresentations to later investors about prior fund performance. Upon filing this action, the SEC obtained emergency relief including the imposition of a temporary restraining order and the appointment of a receiver responsible for maximizing the monetary recovery for investors. Earlier this year, the receiver returned the more than $63 million in principal owed to the investors the SEC alleges were harmed by Morgan's fraud. The receiver's application to return an additional $3.3 million to these investors was granted on November 6, 2020.
Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, Morgan consented to the entry of a final judgment imposing an injunction against any future violations of the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Subsequent to the filing of the complaint and the imposition of the temporary restraining order, Morgan liquidated assets to generate the more than $66 million the receiver collected and distributed, or has received court authorization to distribute, to harmed investors. The settlement with Morgan does not include any additional monetary relief.
The SEC is represented by Lee Greenwood, Neal Jacobson, and Alexander Vasilescu, with assistance from Alistaire Bambach.