Sean David Morton at sea

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby notorial dissent » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:43 am

AS I said, stupid will out.

So, I would suspect that any hope Mrs patent nostrum peddler had of an easy sentencing just flew right out the window. They might as well get used to jail, they're going to be there for quite a while.

I feel very sorry for the cats, and if they were as concerned about them as they were their customers, then I am deeply worried.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby grixit » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:51 am

If the cops are informed they should call the relevant agencies.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Famspear » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:07 pm

A review of the Court docket on PACER (United States v. Morton, case no. 15-cr-00611, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California) reveals that Mr. and Mrs. Morton were indeed arrested on Monday, August 21, 2017, and are being held in the custody of the United States Marshal. Mr. Morton is also being charged under 18 USC section 3146 with failure to appear for his sentencing hearing.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby jcolvin2 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:24 pm

And Melissa Morton is being charged with a felony violation of conditions of pre-trial release. 18 USC sec. 3148.

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Gregg » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:18 pm

jcolvin2 wrote:And Melissa Morton is being charged with a felony violation of conditions of pre-trial release. 18 USC sec. 3148.



???
Pre-trial? Does that apply to post trial but pre-sentencing?
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby jcolvin2 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:33 pm

Gregg wrote:
jcolvin2 wrote:And Melissa Morton is being charged with a felony violation of conditions of pre-trial release. 18 USC sec. 3148.



???
Pre-trial? Does that apply to post trial but pre-sentencing?


The statute technically applies to any violation of a release condition, including pretrial release, pre-sentencing release, or for someone who has been sentenced but has received bail pending appeal (permitted to stay out of confinement until the Court of Appeals rules on the case).

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby notorial dissent » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:59 am

I seem to recall that they were both out OR for the trial and then I would suspect they continued it through sentencing, as they often do, something I thought was monumentally stupid at the time, and was proven immediately right, so I suspect they have them both on that, but her particularly. In any event she's in big trouble now as well.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Gannibal » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:42 pm

Sentencing memos for Melissa Morton are in. The feds ask for 6.5 years, bottom of the applicable guidelines, and note that it's the same sentence they were going to ask for before her husband got little and she broke the terms of her release to see him.

No big revelations in the memos, but there was one interesting detail. Apparently when they caught him he was staying in a motel under the name "William Alan Pezzuto." Not going to lie, my first thought was, "next time I play a rogue in D&D I'm going to use that name."

My second thought was, "Wonder if that's a real person?"

Sure enough, Wm Alan Pezzuto appears to be a producer who, at one time, had the screen rights to Sean David Morton's series of books. Also a tiger owner who made the news when his neighbors reported being scared of his tiger, and went on record reassuring them that the tiger was safe. And who, according to his website, later had to give up a production gig because he lost the use of his hands for a year after an altercation with a tiger. Tiger!

Anyway, Pezzuto seems like a reckless guy with a soft spot for wild animals. I wonder if he took SDM in while the man was a fugitive, and reserved that hotel room for him so SDM could have a rendezvous with his wife? That would explain why the room was in his name, if SDM was too smart to use his own credit cards.

If not, using that name was a shitty thing for SDM to do. The feds are surely thinking about paying Mr. Pezzuto a visit over this.

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby jcolvin2 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:13 am

Total Eclipse of the Heart - Sean David Morton arrested poolside at hotel while viewing the solar eclipse with his wife!

The Government Sentencing Memo for Sean David Morton provides the details:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
WESTERN DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,
v.
SEAN DAVID MORTON, et al.,
Defendant.
No. CR 15-00611-SVW
UNITED STATES’ AMENDED
SENTENCING MEMORANDUM
FOR DEFENDANT SEAN DAVID
MORTON; DECLARATION

The United States of America, by and through its undersigned counsel, hereby
submits an amended memorandum regarding its sentencing position in anticipation of the sentencing of defendant Sean David Morton currently scheduled for September 18, 2017.

As set forth more fully below, the United States requests that the Court sentence
defendant to a term of imprisonment of 109 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and further order that defendant pay $480,322.55 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a special assessment of $2,900.

The United States’ Sentencing Brief is based on the attached memorandum of
points and authorities, the PSR, the Letter, the evidence and testimony adduced at the trial of this case, the records and files, the Declaration of IRS-CI Special Agent John Lucero and supporting exhibits attached thereto previously filed, the Declaration of IRSCI Special Agent Peter Lu, filed concurrently herein, and any argument the Court may adduce at the hearing on this matter.

DATED: September 6, 2017 SANDRA R. BROWN
Acting United States Attorney
THOMAS D. COKER
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Tax Division
___/s/___________________________
VALERIE L. MAKAREWICZ
JAMES C. HUGHES
Assistant United States Attorneys
Attorneys for the United States of America

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES

I. Summary of the United States’ Amended Sentence Recommendation

Defendant was to be sentenced on June 19, 2017. When he failed to appear
for such hearing, this Court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

During the 61 days as a fugitive, defendant flagrantly flouted the law, appeared on social media, his radio program, and YouTube to brag about his status as a fugitive, until on August 21, 2017, when defendant was apprehended with his co-defendant, Melissa Morton, observing the solar eclipse pool-side at the Desert Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, in Desert Hot Springs, California.

From the date this criminal case was instituted against him and his wife to the date of their capture, defendant has willingly obstructed this proceeding. As such, the 2-point obstruction adjustment under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 to defendant’s total combined adjusted offense level is wholly appropriate in this instance and should be imposed by the Court. The government asserts that a term of 109 months imprisonment is warranted in this case, as explained further below.

II. Defendant’s conduct from June 19, 2017 to present

a. June 19, 2017

As the court is aware, defendant was to be sentenced on June 19, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., but did not appear. At approximately 11:25 a.m., the Court called the case and with no appearance by defendant, issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Beginning at approximately 1:35 p.m. on June 19, 2017, IRS-CI Special Agents conducted surveillance of the defendants’ apartment located in Hermosa Beach, California. Defendants’ vehicle, a white 2006 Ford Escape, was not in the driveway of their residence, but special agents soon found it parked in the parking lot of a Domino’s Pizza on Pacific Coast Highway between 2nd and 3rd street in Hermosa Beach, California. Declaration of IRS-CI Special Agent Peter Lu, ¶ 2.

At about 2:22 p.m., IRS-CI Special Agents witnessed defendant walking briskly to his SUV, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt (with the hood on), a hat, and sunglasses, and carrying a black computer bag. Agents then saw defendant open the driver’s side of the SUV, take off his sweatshirt, place his bag and sweatshirt inside, and get into the SUV and drive away, onto PCH heading south.
Lu Decl., ¶ 3.

IRS-CI Special Agents followed defendant for several miles and observed him entering the 91 Freeway heading east. Agents followed defendant for several miles eastbound on the 91 Freeway and then observed him exit onto Magnolia Street from the 5 Freeway South/91 east interchange. After exiting onto Magnolia Street, defendant abruptly made a U-turn and entered the 5 Freeway southbound
again. Then, defendant abruptly exited the 5 Freeway south at Lincoln Avenue, wherein he made a right turn, and then another right turn on Loara Street, before he parked his SUV near the corner of Loara Street and Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim,
California, when he entered a store on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Loara
Street. Lu Decl., ¶ 4.

A few minutes later, defendant left the store, got into the SUV and headed south on Loara Street. Agents observed defendant make a quick left turn onto Mable Street and then drive the SUV into the rear parking lot of a building at 1575
Mable Street, Anaheim, California, park and exit the SUV. IRS-CI Special Agents saw defendant enter the building at 1575 Mable Street, which is a building of the Fairmont Private School in Anaheim, which was operating a day camp that day for students ranging from pre-school to eighth grade. Agents observed defendant looking out through the west facing window of 1575 Mable Street. At approximately 5:30 pm, agents saw defendant leave 1575 Mable Street parking
lot in the SUV and turn west on Mable Street. Lu Decl., ¶ 5.

b. June 20, 2017

At 8:33 a.m., defendant posted to his Twitter account a plea for monetary
donations to a GoFundMe.com account for defendant Melissa Morton. Lu Decl., ¶6.

c. June 21, 2017

Defendants’ SUV was next observed in the driveway of their apartment on June 21, 2017. At approximately 12:30 p.m., U.S. Marshals knocked and entered
defendants’ apartment to see if defendant was there, but after a security sweep of the apartment, found that defendant Melissa Morton was the only person at the
apartment. Defendant Melissa Morton stated to a Deputy U.S. Marshal that when
defendant Sean David Morton left the apartment, he took a firearm registered to
him with him. Lu Decl., ¶ 7.

d. August 14, 2017

Defendant Sean David Morton appeared on a livestream of a YouTube show, Project Camelot, for over two hours.1 Within minutes, defendant stated that the assigned AUSAs and the Court were criminals, that there was no original evidence of criminal activity presented in his case, and that the trial of his case was a joke, tantamount to a “kangaroo court.” Amongst other things, defendant stated he did not show up to the sentencing because he had withdrawn his plea and the court has no jurisdiction over him. Defendant further stated that he was in a secure location and was likely to resume broadcasting his internet radio program soon. Lu Decl., ¶ 8.

e. August 21, 2017

On August 21, 2017, defendants were arrested together at the Desert Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, in Desert Hot Springs, California. Defendants had checked into the hotel on August 20, 2017, and had made a two-day reservation. Defendant Sean David Morton was poolside, and defendant Melissa Morton was in the SUV about to leave the premises when IRS-CI Special Agents stopped her. Lu Decl., ¶ 9.

III. Offense Level Calculation and Revised Sentence Recommendation

In its original sentencing position, the Government presented ample evidence of defendant’s obstreperous conduct leading up to and after the trial in this case, and argued that the two-point upwards adjustment to defendant’s sentencing level calculation for obstruction under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 applied. Docket No. 225, pp. 10-15. Defendant’s willful failure to appear at his sentencing is conduct to which this adjustment applies. U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1, Commentary, Note 4(E).

This is clearly a case where defendant has willfully undertaken a systematic
effort to impede this prosecution and the resulting sentencing. As such, the Court
should apply the obstruction enhancement to defendant’s offense level
computation, which results in a combined offense level of 30, with a Guidelines
range of 97 to 121 months incarceration.

For all of the above stated facts regarding defendant’s conduct during his flight from justice enumerated above, as well as those stated in the government’s original sentencing position, the government recommends that the Court sentence
defendant to a term of 109 months, midrange for defendant’s combined offense
level, along with a period of supervised release of 5 years. As recommended by
the Probation Office, a restitution order in the amount of $480,322.55 should be
entered against defendant, and defendant should be ordered to pay a special
assessment of $2,900 to the Court. Additionally, such sentence should include (or
require defendant to be subject to) the terms and conditions enumerated by the
Probation Office.

Respectfully submitted,
SANDRA R. BROWN
Acting United States Attorney
THOMAS D. COKER
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Tax Division
DATED: ____09/06/2017______ _/s/_______________________________
VALERIE L. MAKAREWICZ
JAMES C. HUGHES
Assistant United States Attorneys
Attorneys for the United States of America

SANDRA R. BROWN
Acting United States Attorney
THOMAS D. COKER
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Tax Division
JAMES C. HUGHES (CBN 263878)
VALERIE L. MAKAREWICZ (CBN 229637)
Assistant United States Attorney
Federal Building, Suite 7211
300 North Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: (213) 894-2729
Facsimile: (213) 894-0115
E-mail: Valerie.Makarewicz@usdoj.gov
Attorneys for United States of America
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
WESTERN DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,
v.
SEAN DAVID MORTON, et al.,
Defendant.
No. CR 15-00611-SVW
DECLARATION OF IRS-CI
SPECIAL AGENT PETER LU
DECLARATION OF IRS-CI SPECIAL AGENT PETER LU
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I, PETER LU, declare under penalty of perjury, as
follows:

1. I am a Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), employed in its El Monte, California office. I have knowledge of the facts set forth herein and could and would testify to those facts fully and truthfully if called and sworn as a witness.

2. Beginning at approximately 1:35 p.m. on June 19, 2017, IRS-CI Special Agents, including myself, conducted surveillance of the defendants’ apartment located in Hermosa Beach, California. Defendants’ vehicle, a white 2006 Ford Escape, was not in the driveway of their residence, but I soon found it parked in the parking lot of a Domino’s Pizza on Pacific Coast Highway between 2nd and 3rd street in Hermosa Beach, California.

3. At about 2:22 p.m., I witnessed defendant Sean David Morton walking briskly
to his SUV, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt (with the hood on), a hat, and sunglasses, and carrying a black computer bag. I saw defendant open the driver’s side of the SUV, take off his sweatshirt, place his bag and sweatshirt inside, and get into the SUV and drive away, onto PCH heading south.

4. IRS-CI Special Agents, including myself, followed defendant for several miles
and agents observed him entering the 91 Freeway heading east. Defendant was followed for several miles eastbound on the 91 Freeway and observed exiting onto Magnolia Street from the 5 Freeway South/91 east interchange. After exiting onto Magnolia Street, defendant was observed abruptly making a U-turn and then again entering the 5 Freeway southbound. Then, defendant was observed abruptly exiting the 5 Freeway south at Lincoln Avenue, wherein he made a right turn, and then another right turn on Loara Street, before he parked his SUV near the corner of Loara Street and Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim, California, when I saw him entering a store on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Loara Street.

5. A few minutes later, I saw defendant leaving the store, getting into the SUV
and heading south on Loara Street. I saw defendant make a quick left turn onto Mable Street and then drive the SUV into the rear parking lot of a building at 1575 Mable Street, Anaheim, California, park and exit the SUV. I saw defendant enter the building at 1575 Mable Street, which is the Fairmont Private School in Anaheim, which was operating a day camp that day for students ranging from pre-school to eighth grade. I saw defendant looking out through the west facing window of 1575 Mable Street. At approximately 5:30 pm, defendant left 1575 Mable Street parking lot in the SUV.

6. On June 20, 2017, at 8:33 a.m., defendant posted to his Twitter account a plea
for monetary donations to a GoFundMe.com account for defendant Melissa Morton.

7. On June 21, 2017, defendants’ SUV was observed by IRS-CI Special Agents in
the driveway of their apartment. At approximately 12:30 p.m., U.S. Marshals knocked and entered defendants’ apartment to see if defendant was there, but after a security sweep of the apartment, found that defendant Melissa Morton was the only person at the apartment. I know from conversations with the Deputy U.S. Marshal that defendant Melissa Morton stated to a Deputy U.S. Marshal that when defendant Sean David Morton left the apartment, he took a firearm registered to him with him.

8. On August 15, 2017, defendant Sean David Morton appeared on a livestream
of a YouTube show, Project Camelot, for over two hours. I have watched this program. Defendant stated that the assigned AUSAs and the Court were criminals, that there was no original evidence of criminal activity presented in his case, and that the trial of his case was a joke, tantamount to a “kangaroo court.” Defendant stated he did not show up to the sentencing because he had withdrawn his plea and the court has no jurisdiction over him. Defendant stated that he was in a secure location and was likely to resume broadcasting his internet radio program soon.

9. On August 21, 2017, defendants were arrested together at the Desert Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, in Desert Hot Springs, California. Defendants had checked into the hotel on August 20, 2017, and had made a two-day reservation. I arrested defendant at the hotel’s pool. Defendant Melissa Morton was in the SUV about to leave the premises when IRS-CI Special Agents stopped her.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America
that the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed in El Monte, California, on September 6, 2017.

PETER LU
Special Agent, IRS-CI

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Gannibal » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:54 am

If they were tailing him the day he absconded, why didn't they just pull him over and arrest him?

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Burnaby49 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:57 am

Gannibal wrote:If they were tailing him the day he absconded, why didn't they just pull him over and arrest him?


My thought too. Why tail him at all, just pick him up? They seemed pretty lacadaisical about the whole thing.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby grixit » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:02 am

I'd love to see the defendant's sentencing recommendation.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby notorial dissent » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:46 am

Sounds to me like they expected him to do a runner and were more or less prepared for it, although how or why they missed him leaving would be interesting. If they knew where he was it would have been comparatively easy to keep an eye on him without worrying about him running again and maybe getting lucky this time and really getting away. He thought he'd gotten away with it and wasn't paying close attention by that point. They were maybe waiting for something, like his wife incriminating herself, who knows, and they probably aren't going to say.

It will be interesting to see what Sean has to say for himself in court, assuming he says anything at all.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Siegfried Shrink » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:04 pm

Burnaby49 wrote:
Gannibal wrote:If they were tailing him the day he absconded, why didn't they just pull him over and arrest him?


My thought too. Why tail him at all, just pick him up? They seemed pretty lacadaisical about the whole thing.


I have seen mention of a large restitution sum in his sentence. If there is a suggestion that he has this sort of money, I'd think keeping an eye on him to see where he goes might lead to evidence of hidden funds, since a fresh fugitive might want to secure some walking around money from a hidden stash.

Hences, letting him run a bit to see where he goes.

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby notorial dissent » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:12 pm

Or maybe too, also, to see who his confederates were. He really does seem to be as stupid as everyone has been saying he was.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby The Observer » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:05 pm

Siegfried Shrink wrote:I have seen mention of a large restitution sum in his sentence. If there is a suggestion that he has this sort of money, I'd think keeping an eye on him to see where he goes might lead to evidence of hidden funds, since a fresh fugitive might want to secure some walking around money from a hidden stash.

Hences, letting him run a bit to see where he goes.


There were obvious gaps in the chronology of the special agent's memo. That would be a strong indicator that there was much more activity and information going on that was not going to be shared in the court documents. I tend to agree that the agents were going to let Morton believe that he had outwitted the government in the hopes that he would slip up and lead them to accomplices, assets or both.
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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Gannibal » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:04 pm

That makes sense, although I think it's more likely they were hunting assets than confederates. Seems like the people involved in these scams rarely even try to hide.

If they were looking for co-conspirators, then Mr. Pezzuto picked a particularly poor time to help out his associate. (If, in fact, he did--all we know for sure was that Morton was apparently staying in a hotel room under that name.)

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Gannibal » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:03 am

Sentencing was earlier today, and both defendants did surprisingly well for themselves. The government asked for 100+ months for Sean David Morton, as I recall; he got 72. And I think Mrs. Morton was facing upwards of 50, but received just 24. (Plus 5 years probation and a ~$500k restitution order, so wage garnishment for life.) I suspect Mrs. Morton benefited from a lot of heartfelt letters calling her too naive to be a criminal and too soft to be a prisoner.

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby TheNewSaint » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:01 pm

Well, that's disappointing. 30 or so counts of fraud, violating release conditions, inundating the court with bullshit filings, and all Sean gets is 6 years. And only 2 years for Melissa, whose most recent actions don't suggest contrition, or that she's going to stop doing what hubby says.

It's appalling that scumbags like these get lenient sentences. Wage garnishment, when they've never held jobs and never will. Probation, when they've disregarded everything the court has ever told them to do. And prison terms that amount to a few weeks per victim.

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Re: Sean David Morton at sea

Postby Famspear » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:33 pm

In addition, the Court ordered that as part of the five year period of post-release supervision, these two goobers "shall not engage, as whole or partial owner, employee or otherwise, in any business involving the sale of financial instruments or providing debt relief services without the express approval of the Probation Officer prior to engaging in such employment. Further, the defendant shall provide the Probation Officer with access to any and all business records, client lists, and other records pertaining to the operation of any business owned, in whole or in part, by the defendant, as directed by the Probation Officer."
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