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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Fulton man sentenced for fraud

A Fulton County man who used his position as a branch manager at a savings and loan to hoodwink longtime friends into buying bogus investment securities was sentenced yesterday to a regional jail.

Roger A. Morr, 60, of Delta, Ohio, who was convicted in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on a grand theft charge, received a 45-day sentence at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker.

Judge Ruth Ann Franks said Morr, who is clerk for Fulton County's York Township, was held in high esteem in the community but engaged in a deceitful and cunning scheme to defraud people who respected and trusted him, including a 93-year-old woman.

When Judge Franks gave Morr the chance to speak prior to sentencing, he choked back tears, taking several minutes to compose himself. He apologized to God, family, friends, and “the community that I served and let down. “

“I got myself into a bad situation. If I could have turned to my friends, I could have gotten out of it a long time ago,” he said. “Friends don't do to friends what I did.”

Dressed in a gray business suit, Morr appeared stunned as he was taken in handcuffs by county sheriff's deputies after the sentencing and seated in the courtroom with other defendants dressed in jail overalls.

Judge Franks also imposed 250 hours of community service and placed him on community control for four years. She said she hoped the jail sentence would allow Morr the opportunity to reflect on the advantages in his life that are not often available to other defendants who appear in her courtroom.

Prosecutors said Morr received $140,000 from eight people who believed they were investing in certificates of deposit that were federally insured, but instead Morr used the money to pay off a debt that he incurred from a bad investment in a trucking company.

All but two of the victims were over 65 years old, said Thomas Matuszak, an assistant county prosecutor. He said Morr has made restitution to the victims for the money he received as well as the interest they would have earned.

Judge Franks noted that one of the transactions was arranged at Morr's office in the Swanton branch of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Delta. An employee of the bank for 40 years, he resigned in January.

According to Fulton County election officials, Morr will appear on the ballot in the Nov. 4 election. He is running unopposed.

Kathy Meyer, elections director, said Fulton County Prosecutor William Swigart is reviewing Morr's conviction to determine whether he will be eligible to continue serving in office.

Mr. Swigart could not be reached for comment.



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