This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The U.S. Attorney wants to rearrest a man accused of creating a fake bank in Utah and taking millions of dollars from banks, investors and casinos across the country, even while he was in jail.
Shaun G. Morgan, 30, surrendered to the FBI in March after he allegedly tried to buy part of a Utah company with a $535,000 counterfeit check. He was released after a detention hearing and his assurances to make good on the payment.
The scheme now appears to be part of a complex web of phony bank transactions backed by fake cashier's checks, according to U.S. District Court documents. Authorities say the illegal acts continued after Morgan's release. More than 50 victims have been identified, and authorities think there may be more. Anyone with more information about Morgan is asked to call the FBI in Salt Lake City at 579-1400.
Morgan is back in custody.
The plot started in November 2007, when Morgan created the First Mutual Bank, portraying it on a Web site as an international bank based in London with locations in New York, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
First Mutual and several other false banks with similar names were based in South Jordan and never were legitimate. He had done business in Europe, documents state, and committed similar crimes in Switzerland. Morgan allegedly printed three boxes of cashier's checks in the First Mutual name. Using a variety of schemes, Morgan swindled collateral payments from banks, credit unions and at least one real estate investor.
In one case, Morgan allegedly offered to extend an investment company a $13 million revolving line of credit in exchange for $2.5 million in collateral in treasury bills and bonds. Morgan then allegedly deposited a $2 million check in the company's bank account. The company spent the money, only to be notified the deposit was a counterfeit check.
He also is accused of using the bad checks to buy 41 houses and properties in Draper and Sandy and collect rent payments.
He has had control of a total of about $5.5 million, according to court documents. His associates also allegedly used a total of $700,000 in bad checks to play and stay at two casinos in Connecticut.
After his March arrest, Morgan appeared to make good on the check in question, court documents say. But the money appears to be collateral extracted from another company.
While Morgan was in jail, his wife withdrew $60,000 from the First Mutual account to their personal account, and used most of it to pay off personal expenses.
After his release, documents state, Morgan "continued unabated," representing himself with a false name to new investors and reassuring others that he was not under investigation.
On May 16, the U.S. Attorney's Office released the results of its continued investigation and asked that his release be revoked. The motion was granted by Magistrate Paul Warner last week .
"What is disturbing about the withdrawals is that they occurred while the defendant was in custody. Even when he is in custody, people are not safe from the defendant," the documents state. "This clearly shows what a danger the defendant truly is."