Stan Lee needed a superhero, and the law came to his rescue. Lee, now 95, co-creator of such superheroes as Spider Man, the Incredible Hulk, and X-Men, has been the alleged victim of fraud, elder abuse, and embezzlement by his self-proclaimed business partner, Keya Morgan.

Morgan had been issued a temporary restraining order to stay away from Lee, based on a series of incidents which transpired in May 2018. Now the Los Angeles County Superior Court has turned that into a permanent three year restraining order, keeping Morgan away from Lee, his daughter,C.J. Lee, and son-in-law, Larry Leiber.

Keep Your Enemies Close, and Your Friends Closer

Morgan was introduced to Lee by Lee’s daughter, C.J. What began as a business relationship between creator and collector soon morphed into co-creators, co-producers, and then attempted power of attorney.

According to Lee’s attorney, Morgan slowly seized control of Lee’s home, and eventually hired security guards to keep friends and relatives away. Morgan then moved Lee into an “unfamiliar condominium”, in essence unduly influencing and isolating Lee. Morgan was arrested in June for making a 911 call and filing a false police report that intruders had entered Lee’s home, when in fact, it was two police officers and a social worker coming to check in on Lee’s welfare. This arrest served as the basis for the temporary restraining order, and later the permanent restraining order.

Elder Financial Abuse All Too Common

Lee is worth an estimated $50 million, so there was plenty of motive for Morgan. But this isn’t just a crime with rich victims. As the number of elderly continues to rise, so too do the number of victims of elderly financial exploitation. The U.S. Department of Justice claims this crime costs the elderly $2.9 billion annually. Close to 90% of financial elderly abuse takes place in the home of the elderly person, often by friends and relatives. The most common signs of financial elderly abuse include:

  • New and heightened interest in the individual’s assets
  • Odd bank account activity
  • New or unusual financial transactions that the elder has difficulty explaining
  • New “best friends”
  • Efforts to make the elderly estate planning documents, including any powers of attorney, wills or trusts

If you see any of the above signs, or have any other reason to suspect financial elderly abuse, contact Adult Protective Services as well as a local elder law attorney who can review your case, and help guide you in the right direction, before it’s too late.

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