Wheeling man indicted for defrauding investors, tax evasion
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – Jeffrey James Morris, age 36, of Wheeling, West Virginia, has been indicted on twenty-eight counts of wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with the defrauding of investors and employees of his real estate development company.
Morris, the managing member and majority owner of Roxby Development, LLC, was charged yesterday by a special grand jury in Wheeling with eighteen counts of wire fraud and ten counts of failure to pay taxes. Morris, who was arrested earlier this month on one count of wire fraud, is accused of making misrepresentations to induce individuals to invest in Ohio County real estate, to include the McClure House hotel, the Mount Carmel Monastery, and the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
According to the indictment, Morris received nearly $7 million from approximately twenty investors. Morris allegedly used investor funds to pay for credit card transactions unrelated to Roxby renovations, to pay the debts of a company unrelated to Roxby, to pay personal expenses, and to pay other investors. He is accused of misrepresenting the status of improvements made to the properties to induce additional investment and to lull investors into not taking action for failing to comply with their agreements. Morris allegedly used deception to induce the sale of properties to him, to include providing false screenshots of bank account balances, and to have misled potential lenders by not disclosing all the payables of the Roxby entities.
Morris is also charged with withholding taxes from his employees’ pay checks but then failing to pay over $252,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, to include Medicare and social security taxes.
“Many were harmed by the actions of Jeffery Morris, including investors, employees, and vendors,” said United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld. “Thanks to the outstanding work of the FBI and IRS-CI, Mr. Morris will be held accountable.”
“Mr. Morris is accused of taking advantage of innocent investors and creating a deceptive scheme for his own personal gain,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “The FBI will relentlessly pursue those who attempt to defraud and mislead people in our community.”
U.S. 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.
A jury trial has been scheduled for November 14, 2023, at 9:00 am.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Updated September 27, 2023