U.S. Citizen Extradited from Brazil Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges

A former accountant pleaded guilty this month in federal court in Boston in connection with a $2 million wire fraud scheme.

Christopher Morris, 48, formerly of Lowell and Chelsea, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of unlawful monetary transactions. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Dec. 10, 2019. In November 2014, Morris was charged in an indictment in the District of Massachusetts. In May 2019, he was extradited from Brazil, where he had been living since 2013.

Morris admitted that he participated in a wire fraud scheme targeting his employer PBS Distribution (PBSd), a media distribution business with operations in Allston and elsewhere.  Morris’ position gave him access to U.S. mail addressed to PBSd’s accounting department, including checks payable to PBSd. Beginning as early as January 2008 and continuing through September 2012, Morris took more than $2 million in checks under the guise of depositing them into PBSd’s bank accounts, but he instead endorsed them to himself and deposited them into a personal bank account. Morris used his access to PBSd’s accounting system to conceal the theft by, among other steps, fraudulently causing credits to be issued to the accounts of customers whose checks he stole, and by causing PBSd’s general ledger to be altered to show that the same customers had made payments. Morris spent the proceeds of the scheme on a lavish lifestyle that included, among other expenses, year-long apartment rentals in New York City’s Greenwich Village and Tribeca neighborhoods, the down payment, purchase and upkeep of a waterfront condominium in Chelsea, and luxury clothing, dining and travel, including a $16,000 two-week South American cruise. 

The charges of wire fraud provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on each count. The charge of unlawful monetary transactions provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of the greater of either $250,000 or twice the value of the criminally derived property. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Charity Golf Tournament

The Winnisimmet Club’s 42nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 at noon at the Cedar Glen Golf Course in Saugus.

A reception will follow at the Merritt Club at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Peter Steriti at 617-884-1734.

CHS 67-68 Reunion

The committee for the Chelsea High School classes of 1967 and 1968 have planned a Reunion on October 5, 2019, 6PM at Anthony’s (105 Canal Street, Malden, MA 02149). For further information and to purchase tickets directly online go to: www.chelseahs6768.com/class_index.cfm.

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