LANSING, Mich. (Detroit News Watch) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday a 70-year-old former Jackson-based investment advisor charged with stealing $700,000 from his clients pleaded no contest Friday to one felony count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise (CCE) before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson. Robert Byrkit Morley, Jr., was originally charged with one count of CCE and 29 counts of felony embezzlement.
Morley was a registered investment advisor in Jackson between 2007 and 2014. During that time, he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly couple who entrusted him with their life savings, which was revealed when the trustee and heirs of the elderly couple’s estate made several unsuccessful attempts to secure the money from him after the couple passed away.
The trustee and heirs ultimately filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which revoked his license and referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office for criminal charges.
As part of his plea, Morley Friday paid $120,000 toward restitution and is required to pay the remaining $580,000 through a restitution order. The restitution will be distributed to the victims’ heirs. Morley faces up to 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Thursday, November 21, 2019. He will remain in Jackson County jail until his sentencing.
“Michigan residents trust investment advisors to help them save for the future, not take everything they have for personal enrichment,” Nessel said. “While Mr. Morley’s victims may be deceased, he still has a responsibility to repay the money he stole. This plea agreement ensures that the victims’ assets will be passed down to their heirs, and that Mr. Morley will not be permitted to benefit from his crimes.
“I am incredibly grateful for the partnership between our office and LARA, which continues to ensure that those who exploit our residents are held accountable,” Nessel added.
“Our LARA investigators did an excellent job when we took our initial action in revoking the licensee’s license. We greatly appreciate the hard work of Attorney General Nessel and her team. We are pleased to see this case brought to justice,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “LARA will continue to take appropriate action against licensees who take advantage of people’s future financial stability, which is unacceptable and reprehensible.”