Man accused of defrauding comic book icon appears in court

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Stan Lee, Keya Morgan

FILE – In this April 23, 2018, file photo, Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan arrive at the world premiere of “Avengers: Infinity War” in Los Angeles. Morgan, the former business manager of Lee has been arrested on elder abuse charges involving the late comic book icon. Los Angeles police say Morgan was taken into custody in Arizona early Saturday, May 25, 2019, on an outstanding arrest warrant. Morgan was charged earlier this month with felony allegations of theft, embezzlement, forgery or fraud against an elder adult, and false imprisonment of an elder adult. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A former business manager of the late comic book legend Stan Lee had his initial court appearance early Sunday in Arizona, where he was arrested after fleeing California charges of fiduciary elder abuse.

Keya Morgan appeared in Maricopa County Superior Court on a charge of being a fugitive of justice.

Court documents show Los Angeles police alerted authorities in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale that Morgan’s cellphone was being used in north Scottsdale.

Morgan, 43, was found in a house with his mother and arrested without incident Saturday morning, police said.

It’s unclear when Morgan will be extradited to California, where he’s facing felony charges including theft, embezzlement, forgery or fraud against an elder adult, and false imprisonment of an elder adult. A misdemeanor count also alleges elder abuse.

Los Angeles County prosecutors say Morgan sought to capitalize on the Marvel Comic mastermind’s wealth and exert influence over Lee even though he had no authority to act on his behalf.

Lee died last November at age 95.

Prosecutors say Morgan pocketed more than $262,000 from autograph-signing sessions Lee did in May 2018.

Morgan at one point also took Lee from his Hollywood Hills home to a Beverly Hills condominium “where Morgan had more control over Lee,” according to California authorities.

Lee’s daughter said in a request for a restraining order last year that Morgan was manipulating the mentally declining Lee, preventing him from seeing family and friends, and trying to take control of his money and business affairs.

Alex Kessel, an attorney for Morgan, has said his client has never abused or taken advantage of Lee.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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