Brandon Morris

Brandon Morris

A Bowling Green couple was indicted recently by a Logan County grand jury on charges of theft of over a quarter of $1 million.

Brandon Morris was indicted on May 25 on a single charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of property of over $10,000 or more. He was then arrested last week and lodged in the Logan County Detention Center on a $25,000 cash bond. He was released Thursday, May 31, after his bond was reduced to $5,000. His wife, Dana Morris, was indicted as being an accomplice to the crime and was not arrested, but instead was instead issued a criminal summons.

According to the indictment, Brandon Morris "obtained property upon agreement or subject to a known legal obligation to make required disposition and intentionally dealt with the property as his own wherein he obtained over $10,000 belonging to Joe and Darlene Ryan via a BB&T line of credit subject to an obligation to repay and dealt with the property as his own, thereby breaching a trust growing out of an agreement or confidential relationship with the Ryans."

Dana Morris's indictment indicated that she "knowing and unlawfully committed the offense of complicity of theft by failure to make required disposition of property when she aided, counseled, and/or entered into a conspiracy with Brandon Morris."

The indictment states that the crime took place between December 2007 and August 2015.

According to a memorandum-opinion filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court of Western Kentucky in December of 2017, Brandon and Dana Morris attempted to discharge over $238,000 in debt owed to the Ryans by filing for bankruptcy.

Judge Joan A. Lloyd ruled that the debt could not be discharged because the debt was obtained by "false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud."

The facts of the bankruptcy case, as reported in the judge's ruling, stated that Brandon Morris began "flipping" houses with one of the Ryan's sons in 2007.

The Ryans opened a line of credit with BB&T to help Brandon Morris purchase homes. They would give him the money to purchase houses that were "either in foreclosure or about to be foreclosed upon" and then he would make improvements to the homes and resell them for profit. According to his agreement with the Ryans, once the homes sold, Brandon Morris was to repay them the money they had loaned him from the BB&T line of credit.

In May of 2009, the Ryans were informed by BB&T that the line of credit loan needed to be redocumented. At the time, there was $283,000 out on the line of credit.

According to the ruling, the Ryans told Brandon Morris that they would need a list of properties that had not been resold yet. Brandon Morris gave the Ryans a list of four properties, but once the Ryans asked to visit the properties, they discovered that Brandon Morris has already sold three of them and had mortgaged the fourth, which had been transferred into the name of the "Dana Bellair Trust."

The court document states that "Darlene Ryan testified that she spent hundreds of hours at the County Clerk's Office trying to trace the chain of title on the properties in order to find out what had happened to them. The (Ryans) discovered deeds to approximately 31 separate pieces of property purchased in the name of Brandon Morris from 2006 to 2014. (The Ryans) also found 56 deeds for property purchased in the name of Dana Bellair as Trustee for individual or separate Trusts."

According to the court documents, in June of 2008, Dana Morris had her name legally changed to Dana Bellair and created a trust under her maiden name that was used in to transfer property with ease.

The Ryans then had the Morrises sign a promissory note in the amount of $283,500 with interest of 4.75 percent. According to the court documents, Brandon Morris made two payments "but he quickly fell behind." In August of 2014, the Ryans filed a state court action against Morris to collect the debt, alleging fraud. One year later, the Morrises filed for Chapter 7 banruptcy and tried to have the debt discharged.

Brandon Morris could not produce the records for any of the real estate transactions, according to the judge's ruling. The judge wrote, "It was clear from the evidence at trial that (Morris) did not maintain business records of all of his real estate transactions or if he did, he chose to conceal them."

According to the court records, Brandon Morris claimed that some of his files that were stored on his computer were destroyed by the Kentucky State Police when they were investigating him for an unrelated criminal offense. That was disputed by Logan County Sheriff's Department detective Kevin Bibb, who testified that no files were deleted from the computer.

Brandon Morris plead guilty to two counts of custodial interference and two counts of sexual misconduct in February of 2015.

As part of the deal, Morris received a 10-year sentence but was only required to serve 135 days in jail. However, Justin Crocker, the assistant Commonwealth Attorney who prosecuted the case said that for five years following his release from prison, Morris will be on probation and any further convictions will result in him serving the full 10 years.

"Even if it's just a DUI, he could have his probation revoked and the full 10-year sentence imposed," Crocker said.

Brandon and Dana Morris are scheduled to be arraigned in Logan Circuit Court on Thursday, June 21.