John and Marian Morgan, accused of playing leading roles in an alleged $27 million ponzi scheme uncovered in 2009, have decided to take markedly different legal strategies with a September trial date looming.
The Morgans, accused of running Morgan European Holdings as a ponzi scheme ultimately taking in $27 million for a fictitious bank-to-bank trading program, rose to notoriety when they fled the United States to Switzerland after failing to show up for a federal court hearing rather than face jail for contempt. Later arrested in Sri Lanka, the Morgans have remained in custody since being extradited back to Sarasota.
Last week, John Morgan agreed to plead guilty and testify at the upcoming September trial, although he will not be forced to testify against his wife. Following that development, it was speculated that Marian Morgan would also change her plea to guilty when a change-of-plea hearing was noticed for later this week. However, it was announced today that Ms. Morgan still plans on fighting the charges.
Also facing trial in September with Ms. Morgan is Eli Heckscher, the Denmark-based attorney who coordinated the movement of investor funds. Currently jailed in Denmark, it is not anticipated that Heckscher will be extradited in time for the September trial. Along with the cooperation of John Morgan, prosecutors have also secured the cooperation of Stephen Bowman, who recently pled guilty to funnelling nearly $13 million to Morgan European Holdings.
Marian Morgan faces a large amount of incriminating evidence, including a collection of emails purportedly written by her in which she cautions investors against contacting the SEC, saying that such a move would jeopardize return of the money. Several examples of these emails appear in documents filed by prosecutors, including:
"Marian I. Morgan warned in an email to investors dated February 9 2007 that an 'SEC/FBI investigation' will cause the powers that be to FREEZE all funds and years and years will go by before they complete their investigation. When they are done they will CONFISCATE all funds as fees for their services and the participants will get one big GOOSE EGG, NADA, NOTHING, ZERO,"