LOCAL PREACHER WHO RIPPED OFF MANY FOR $1.6 MIL TO PLEAD GUILTY
January 11, 2012
(SEATTLE, WA) (AP) - A Seattle-area preacher, Anthony “Tony” C. Morris, is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to federal charges he conned some two dozen people and various churches out of at least $1.6 Million.
Morris resigned last week from the New Covenant Christian Center, which formerly operated in Seattle and Renton, but now operates from a community center in Tukwila.
Federal prosecutors charged Morris with wire fraud and money laundering Tuesday, alleging that since 2003 Morris has run a Ponzi scheme in which he told people he'd invest their money to get them quick, profitable returns. In reality, says prosecutors, he used most of the money as his own personal cash stash.
Published report says Morris’s attorney, Jessica Riley of Seattle, says her client has been cooperating with authorities and will plead guilty to both charges.
In January 2009 KING-TV in Seattle reported that bankruptcy documents revealed Morris owed millions of dollars to people and churches across the country.
Morris had filed for bankruptcy protection, claiming he owed more than $2 million to people both in and out of his congregation and to churches.
In his bankruptcy filing, Morris listed his debts and included on the list is former Nordstrom executive Jack McMillan, who is owed $240,000, as well as former NFL pro bowler Bennie Thompson who is owed $180,000, said the KING-TV report.
When he filed for bankruptcy Morris claimed his take home pay was $6,200 a month and the monthly payment on his million-dollar home was $6,100.