A one-time partner and business manager of the late Stan Lee pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he stole money from the comic book legend and falsely imprisoned him last year.
Keya Morgan — who was arrested last month in Arizona — was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail pending a bail review hearing Thursday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Morgan, 43, is charged with one felony count of false imprisonment of an elder by fraud and deceit and three felony counts of grand theft from an elder of more than $950, along with one misdemeanor count of elder abuse for knowingly and willfully inflicting mental suffering on Lee.
The grand theft charges include an allegation that he took more than $100,000 through fraud and embezzlement.
Morgan allegedly took money belonging to the 95-year-old Lee last May and June and falsely imprisoned him in a location outside of his residence, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He is facing a June 18 hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial in the case, in which he could face up to 10 years behind bars if convicted as charged.
Last year, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed misdemeanor counts against Morgan of falsely reporting an emergency and falsely reporting a crime, along with a probation violation.
According to court papers, law enforcement and Adult Protective Services officials went to Lee’s home on May 30, 2018, to perform a “welfare check.” Morgan allegedly arrived at the residence while Lee was being interviewed and security guards refused to let him in.
At that point, Morgan “made a false 911 call, claiming that there were three unidentified burglary suspects in his friend’s home who had locked everyone out of the house,” according to the court documents.
Later that night, Morgan called 911 again, accusing a security guard at the home of assaulting him and Lee with a deadly weapon, according to court documents.
In April, Morgan pleaded no contest to the false report of an emergency and was placed in a diversion program for 12 months. He was also ordered to stay away from both victims in that case, security guards for Lee, as well as Lee’s residence and to refrain from calling 911 other than in the event of an actual emergency, according to a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office.
Lee — the man behind Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Black Panther — died Nov. 12, 2018, at age 95.
The comic book master at one point requested an restraining order against Morgan, just days after insisting the man was his sole partner and business manager and that the two of them were “conquering the world side by side.”
Earlier court documents filed by lawyers for Lee alleged in part that Morgan isolated Lee from his family and other associates, moved him out of his home and into a condominium and was exerting undue influence over him.
His attorneys claimed Morgan mishandled more than $5 million of Lee’s money, according to TMZ, who first reported the latest felony charges.
Last July, the former business manager told TMZ, “For over 10 years I have shown nothing but love, respect & kindness to Stan Lee, & his wife, a fact he has repeated countless times,” and accused Lee’s daughter and her lawyer of a “witchhunt” against him borne out of jealousy.
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