Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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May 13, 2010

Montgomery County attorney charged with stealing more than $555,000 from a senior citizen and her estate

Frank-Morgan-05-13-10HARRISBURG - Attorney General agents today arrested a Montgomery County attorney for stealing nearly $555,000 from an elderly woman and, after her death, from her estate.  He allegedly used the money to refinance his North Carolina beach house and to pay his credit card debt.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as Frank H. Morgan, Jr., 63, 1704 Clocktower Drive, West Chester, a partner in the Norristown law firm of McTighe, Weiss, O'Rourke, Troncelliti and Morgan.

Evidence and testimony regarding Morgan's alleged illegal activity was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.

The grand jury found that in February 2006, Rita Trish, a 90-year women living in a Gladwyne assisted living facility, gave Morgan power of attorney, which authorized him to act on her behalf in legal and business matters.   Trish gave Morgan her power of attorney three weeks after her husband died. 

In April of 2006, Trish signed a will naming Morgan the executor of her estate, which gave him the authority upon her death to administer her will and to ensure that her final wishes were respected.  Trish, who had no children, left her estate to her friend Clementine Piccone.

During 2006, Trish's physical and mental condition deteriorated and she died on Jan. 4, 2007, at the age of 91.

The grand jury found that prior to Trish's death; Morgan stole $268,473 from her bank accounts. 

Following Trish's death, Morgan is charged with stealing $287,202 from Trish's estate.

The grand jury found that Morgan spent the money he stole from Trish in various ways, including:

  • $120,059 to refinance his vacation home in Nags Head, North Carolina. 
  • $271,000 deposited directly into his own bank accounts.
  • $101,518 for credit cards.

"Frank Morgan was entrusted to see that Trish's estate was handled responsibly and according to her wishes," Corbett said.  "Instead, Morgan allegedly took advantage of the deteriorating condition of a senior citizen and stole more than $555,000."

Morgan is charged with one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities which is a first-degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.  He is also charged with one count each of theft by unlawful taking and theft by failure to make required disposition, both third-degree felonies carrying a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, and two counts of misapplication of entrusted property, a second-degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Morgan was preliminarily arraigned before Montgomery County Magisterial District Judge Henry Shireson.   The case will be prosecuted in Montgomery County by Senior Deputy Attorney General M. Eric Schoenberg of the Attorney General's Elder Abuse Unit.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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