WILTON, Conn. – The founder of a Wilton company that developed business opportunities in Iraq was indicted Tuesday, July 29, on charges related to defrauding investors and co-founders of the company.
Joseph T. Morris, 51, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., formerly of Connecticut, was charged with defrauding investors out of about $175,000, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
Morris and two others started a company in October 2011 that focused on establishing a pizzeria at the U.S. Consulate compound in Erbil, Iraq. Morris also said he was establishing a business to distribute and install specialty window film on vehicles, hotels, residences and government buildings to protect windows from breakage and provide heat retention, ultraviolet protection and privacy. Morris was the company’s manager in Iraq.
The charges allege that Morris used fraudulent emails and photographs to falsely represent that his company was moving forward with contracts and renovations to get investors – mostly U.S. military veterans – to invest about $175,000 in his company.
The indictment states that Morris diverted large sums of the invested money for his own personal use instead of using it to pay for business expenses.
Morris is charged with five counts of wire fraud, an offense that carries 20 years in prison for each count.