Conman Lee Morgan cheated relatives out of their inheritance after stealing cash from a will
An executor of a will who tried to con other relatives out of their inheritance has walked free after a judge decided it was not in the public interest to send him to jail.
Lee Morgan was a beneficiary of his grandfather’s will along with his sister Betty Baker and Fay and Claire Morgan.
But he told them they were only due a share of £1,646 when he had transferred the much larger sum of more than £55,000 into his own account and paid his ex-wife £17,000 as part of a divorce settlement.
A last will and testament
The 49-year-old health and safety manager, of Glenwood Drive, Minster, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 275 hours of unpaid work after admitting fraud.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Kenneth Lucas made a will in 2002 and appointed Morgan as the executor.
After he died in September 2011, Morgan paid out the three others £411.60 each.
“He said this was the totality of the estate,” said prosecutor Alan Gardner.
“But Mr Lucas had another bank account that contained funds from his employer’s pension.”
After it was confirmed by Nationwide, Mrs Baker confronted Morgan and he claimed he knew nothing about a second account.
Mrs Baker went to the police and it was discovered that Morgan had transferred the sum of £55,720 into his own account.
Mr Gardner said there were two withdrawals of £10,000 and £7,000, which were paid to his ex-wife Karen.
The remainder of the money seemed to have been used for day to day spending.
When arrested in August last year, Morgan claimed he only realised there was a second account in February last year.
He said he intended paying the three others at some stage but was bitter towards them over his grandfather’s death and wanted to make them wait.
“I did this because I was in a position of control and wanted to cause them inconvenience,” he added.
He has since paid out the inheritance from a different source.
Judge Charles Byers told Morgan he had fallen far short of the standards expected of an executor.
It was essential, he said, that those appointed executors acted in an honest, trustworthy and professional fashion.
“You know as well as I do that you fell far short of those standards,” he told Morgan.
It was a gross breach of trust and an insult to the will maker’s memory.
"It causes deep resentment within the family who are grieving and it causes deep resentment elsewhere" - Judge Charles Byers
“Furthermore, it causes deep resentment within the family who are grieving and it causes deep resentment elsewhere,” he added.
“I am quite satisfied, because you are an intelligent man, that you knew that.
“If I thought for one moment you had intended to keep the money you put into a different account you would be going immediately to prison."
But praising his achievements from “humble beginnings”, he declared: “I have come to the conclusion I can just suspend the sentence.”
Morgan was ordered to pay £1,160 prosecution costs.
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