Stan Lee’s Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges
Keya Morgan was taken into custody in Arizona one week after a warrant was issued for his arrest
Marvel icon Stan Lee’s former business manager was arrested on an outstanding warrant stemming from charges of elder abuse.
The warrant was issued last week for Keya Morgan, who was taken into custody by the Scottsdale and Phoenix Police Department on Saturday in Arizona, in collaboration with LAPD Commercial Crimes Detectives, authorities said in a statement.
Morgan, who is also known as Keyarash Mazhari, was charged with five counts of elder abuse, including false imprisonment, forgery and fraud.
Authorities said Lee’s estate was worth over an estimated $50 million, but had no protection from “opportunists who could insert themselves into his life and take control of it.”
“It had been revealed that no one had clear legal authority to act on Mr. Lee’s behalf; yet, Morgan exerted his control and influence over Lee,” the statement read.
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Police said Morgan participated in what they called a “long con” by embedding himself into Lee’s life and taking advantage of their relationship, allegedly stealing from the comic book creator more than $262,000 he earned at a May 2018 autograph session.
The false imprisonment charges stem from one month later, when Morgan took Lee – who died in November at age 95 – out of his Hollywood Hills residence and moved him to a Beverly Hills condo “during the late night hours.”
The LAPD said that Lee was removed from Morgan’s control just days later, on June 11, 2018, when Morgan was arrested for making false 911 calls.
Just days before his arrest, Lee called Morgan his “partner and business manager” in a Twitter video encouraging anyone trying to contact him to go through Morgan.
“In both instances, Morgan was using this tactic to further deceive Lee into believing he was in danger and needed to be moved from his home to a more secured condominium where Morgan had more control over Lee,” the LAPD’s statement read.
Morgan’s bail is set at $300,000.
Shortly after his arrest warrant was issued, Morgan’s attorney Alex Kessel maintained his client’s innocence.
“My client stands firmly on his presumption of innocence. I expect him to be completely exonerated of all charges. Mr. Morgan has never abused Mr. Stan Lee in any way,” Kessel said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Before his death, Lee claimed in a civil lawsuit that both of his ex-business partners, Shane Duffy and Gill Champion, took advantage of him while he was grieving the loss of his wife and claimed the two “knew about [his] diagnosis of advanced macular degeneration, which has left him unable to read or drive on his own since about 2015, and they prayed [sic] on his infirmities while he was in a state of disrepair.”
Meanwhile, Lee denied claims that his daughter J.C. was abusing him in a joint interview with The Daily Beast in October 2018.
“I’m pretty damn lucky. I love my daughter, I’m hoping that she loves me, and I couldn’t ask for a better life. If only my wife was still with us,” he said. “I don’t know what this is all about… We have occasional spats. But I have occasional spats with everyone.”
J.C., 69, denied the claims, which came from Morgan, as well, saying she’d “never touched” her mother, father or a dog.