Wheeling Developer Admits to Wire and Tax Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – A Wheeling real estate developer pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and tax fraud in connection with a scheme to bilk investors out of millions of dollars.
United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced that Jeffrey James Morris, managing member of Roxby Development, LLC, admitted to one count of wire fraud and one count of willful failure to pay over tax. According to court documents, Morris, age 37, agreed that he used false and misleading information to induce investments in the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Morris also admitted that he caused Roxby Development to collect payroll taxes on behalf of its employees but willfully failed to pay over those funds to the Internal Revenue Service.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, Morris must pay $5,129,113.32 in restitution to investors and an additional $526,476.58 in taxes, penalties, and interest to the Internal Revenue Service.
Morris secured funding both locally and nationally to develop real estate in Wheeling. In addition to his acquisition of the Scottish Rite Cathedral, he acquired the McClure House Hotel and the Mount Carmel Monastery and solicited investments for other properties in the area. The Cathedral and McClure House were foreclosed upon in 2023, and the Monastery will be conveyed by Morris to its primary lienholder pursuant to the plea agreement.
Morris faces up to six and a half years in prison when he is sentenced.
United States Attorney Ihlenfeld and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarod Douglas are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-CI.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Mazzone presided.
Read the plea agreement here:
Updated February 12, 2024