A Monmouth man is charged with aggravated first-degree theft for allegedly defrauding an elderly Redmond couple of more than $80,000.
Robert Lee Morgan, 47, allegedly led his father and father’s girlfriend to believe he was processing a $4 million lawsuit against the military on the father’s behalf, regularly demanding payments of around $500 to cover “filing fees,” all to support his addiction to fentanyl pills.
The details of the yearlong investigation into Morgan were included in a search warrant request filed recently in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
“I know that when a suspect gets a victim to believe a story and start giving money, they will often make promises to make the victim give them more and more money,” wrote Redmond Det. Jeremy Gautney. “However, when the time comes to make good on that promise, the suspect will make another excuse as to why and usually needs more money for something else.”
In September 2019, an adult protective services caseworker notified Redmond Police of a possible ongoing fraud case involving an elderly man with Parkinson’s disease.
When Gautney interviewed the man, Darrel Morgan, at his house, he told the detective about his pending settlement with the Department of Defense and that he had stopped sending his son money because he had no money left. He said that for the past 14 months, his son, Robert Morgan, had been working to get the military to release unpaid veterans benefits. Gautney learned that in that time, the father and his significant other, Rosemary Kirwan, had sent Robert Morgan around $40,000 each and the son had made his father sign a non-disclosure agreement.
“He said he did not want a criminal investigation because it could mess up the settlement,” Gautney wrote.
Investigators noted numerous irregularities pointing to fraud. Robert Morgan regularly faxed documents in the case to his father, including the NDA, that purported to originate from military offices on the East Coast but which in fact bore a return number from a Monmouth shipping agency. They looked into the nondisclosure form Morgan had his father sign and learned it is only used in cases of federal employees known to possess classified information.
Other documents felt fraudulent, Gautney wrote. They omitted key information or in some cases, came from high-ranking military leaders unlikely to be involved in a veteran’s settlement proceedings. Investigators learned that the Army would not ask for filing fees related to legal complaints and in fact did not have a civil court.
Despite all this, the father was not ready to accept the officers’ contention it was a case of a fraud and cooperate with the investigation.
In May, Kirwan had him evicted and she went to police, saying she knew she’d been scammed and was ready to help arrest Morgan, according to court documents.
Morgan was served an indictment Oct. 22. He remains an inmate of Deschutes County jail.
He has a plea hearing scheduled Dec. 17.