Morgan Johnson of Fort Myers, Florida was arrested after she allegedly borrowed $46,000 from family friends, then failed to return the funds, according to news reports. Johnson, 25, was charged with grand theft and fraud on Friday, and was released on the same day on undisclosed bail bond. It is not clear whether she has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
According to news reports, the allegations came to light when a family from Buckimgham contacted authorities, alleging that they had lent Johnson thousands of dollars under the pretext that she was going to inherit over $1 billion in business assets. Upon further investigtion, officials reportedly determined that the claims had been fabricated, and that Johnson had also apprached two other family friends in September 2011 asking for money. It is not clear whether the other families are cooperating with the investigation.
While it is remains unknown whether Johnson herself has admitted to falsifying the windfall, news reports alleged that Johnson worked on the scheme for approximately eight months. She allegedly claimed that she was set to inherit six or seven businesses and an aircraft. The net worth of the businesses, she allegedly told the victims, what approximately $1 billion, while the aircraft was worth approximately $20 million. It is not clear where authorities believe Johnson claimed the inheritance would be coming from.
As evidence for the inherent windfall, Johnson allegedly created ban documents and wrote letters showing correspondance between herself and financial advisors. She allegedly showed these letters to the victims, who she met through her grandmother, sources indicate. The victims purportedly alleged that they lent Johnson the money after she claimed she was hit by a string of emergencies, including an unresolved debt to a former landloard, home forclosure, truck reposession. It is important to remember that Johnson is, as with all U.S. defendants, innocent until proven otherwise.
Some of the alleged emergencies realted to Johnson’s young child, such a a debt to the Florida Department of Children and Families, a tranfer fee for the child’s educational trust, and a potential custody dispute. The boy’s age is not known, nor is it known who might look after him if Johnson is taken into custody. It is not clear wheter the boy still sees his father.
South Florida fraud allegations are fairly common. Although no charges have yet been filed, a raid of the West Palm Beach Housing Authority on Tuesday morning may indicate that fraud charges are forthcoming against members of the organization, press sources indicate. The raid was conducted by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development agents are reportedly confiscated piles of documents.
The West Palm Beach Housing Authority’s exeutive director purportedly told the press that the agents were looking into files from the Section 8 housing program, which provides rent vouchers to at-need individuals, such as disabled and elderly residents. The Housing Authority apparently receives approximatly $31 million in federal funding for its’ work, which includes providing at-need West Palm Beach residents with low income and free housing. It is not clear what kind of charges may be forthcoming, although one source indicated that a mortgage fraud investigation unit official from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office was present.