DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers today announced the indictment and arrests of Denver resident Raymond P. Morris (DOB 6/17/57), Janet L. Morris (DOB 3/26/56) and Gregory C. Erpelding (DOB 5/15/54) for defrauding investors in real estate and foreign currency trading schemes.
“These defendants are accused of defrauding Coloradans out of millions of their hard earned dollars,” said Suthers. “This indictment sends a message to would-be criminals that we will not tolerate fraudulent investment schemes.”
The Attorney General’s Office obtained a statewide grand jury indictment on November 18, 2005 against Raymond Morris and his ex-wife, Janet Morris, and Gregory Erpelding, charging them with securities fraud and theft. Raymond Morris, who was charged with 141 felony counts, was additionally charged with forgery and offering false documents for recording. The alleged scam involved thirty-six Colorado victims with purported losses of $2.5 million.
Janet Morris, a Douglas County resident, was charged with seventeen felony counts, whereas Erpelding, a Jefferson County resident, was charged with nine.
According to the indictment, Raymond P. Morris employed several schemes to defraud his investors. Among those schemes, Morris promised lots in a parcel of land he did not yet own in an area he claimed to be developing for residential use, known as “Cherry Valley Land Development.” Morris failed to develop the land and investors never received title to the property for which they paid.
Another alleged scheme Morris used to defraud his investors was convincing investors to lend money to third parties, offering promissory notes secured with forged deeds of trust to the third parties’ homes. However, the third parties were never involved in the transaction and never received any of the money.
Morris also allegedly solicited and accepted investor money to trade in the foreign currency market promising substantial returns.
“Although investment scams come in different packages, there are some common red flags to watch out for,” said Suthers. “If you are approached to invest, get an independent appraisal of the asset or business venture you are considering. Discuss all investment plans with an accountant or a financial advisor that you know or trust.”
In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Securities assisted with the investigation.
As with all persons charged with a criminal offense, Janet and Raymond Morris and Gregory Erpelding are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Their cases are captioned People v. Raymond P. Morris, Janet L. Morris and Gregory C. Erpelding, Case Nos.05CR884, 05CR885 and 05CR886, respectively, Douglas County District Court.