Former Connecticut man scams investors over fake businesses in Iraq

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A former Connecticut man has pleaded guilty in a $175,000 fraud prosecutors say swindled a dozen investors, including military veterans, who thought he had business opportunities in Iraq.

52-year-old Joseph T. Morris, now of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing Sept. 17.

Prosecutors said Morris and two others formed a company in 2011. Morris, the company's manager in Iraq, claimed he was setting up a pizza restaurant at the U.S. consular compound in Erbil, and was exclusive distributor of specialty protective window film for cars and buildings.

Prosecutors said Morris knew his co-founders would use the false information to attract investors. One partner discovered the scam in 2012.

Prosecutors said Morris had spent much of the money on himself.