Morgan [seen in the photo above with Lee] was taken into custody by Los Angeles Police Department Commercial Crimes detectives, in collaboration with Scottsdale and Phoenix police, the LAPD said in a statement.
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Morgan took control of Lee’s business affairs in February 2018 and allegedly isolated the Black Panther co-creator from his family and friends. Morgan has been accused of embezzling or misappropriating $5 million of assets, according to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2018.
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“Mr. Lee had a large estate worth over an estimated $50 million with no clear protection from opportunists who could insert themselves into his life and take control of it,” the LAPD said Saturday.
The Marvel Comics legend died on November 12, 2018. The LAPD said it launched an elder abuse investigation eight months before Lee passed away at age 95.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office hit Morgan, aka Keyarash Mazhari, with elder abuse charges. He is facing one felony count of false imprisonment of an elder adult, three felony counts of grand theft from an elder or dependent adult, along with an initial elder abuse misdemeanor count.
The false imprisonment charge stemmed from Morgan allegedly moving Lee to an isolated location away from his loved ones.
“Morgan removed Lee from his Hollywood Hills residence to a secured Beverly Hills condominium during the late night hours of June 8, 2018,” the LAPD statement said. “Morgan was using this tactic to further deceive Lee into believing he was in danger and needed to be moved from his home to a more secured condominium where Morgan had more control over Lee.”
Lee’s wife of 70 years, Joan, died in July 2017.
Police said during an “extensive financial investigation,” allegations arose against Morgan alleging that he collected more than $262,000 from Lee’s autograph signing sessions in May 2018, but the Marvel legend never saw a penny of the money.
Morgan’s attorney, Alex Kessel, has said his client never abused or took advantage of Lee.
In an email to The Associated Press Saturday, Kessel said he had arranged for Morgan to surrender to authorities on Tuesday, but they jumped the gun.
“It is unfortunate that the DA and police did not honor our commitment to surrender next week and arrested him,” Kessel stated.
Kessel did not immediately respond to Deadline‘s request for comment.
Morgan will go before a judge and eventually be extradited to Los Angeles to face charges. His bail has been set at $300,000.
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