Former real estate agent sentenced for embezzlement
A former Portola real estate agent was fined and sentenced to five years of probation last week after pleading “no contest” to felony embezzlement.
Earl Warren Morrison, 67, was convicted of taking more than $54,000 from a property management trust account when he worked for Portola-based Lynn Welch Realty.
The charges against Morrison were the result of a 15-month investigation by the Plumas County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s investigators, Jeff Wilkinson and Jessica Beatley, also did extensive outreach to locate many of Morrison’s victims.
The investigators found that Morrison had removed the money from a trust account that held security deposits paid by renters pending the completion of their rental agreement. Most of the theft reportedly took place in 2011.
Morrison, who had no previous criminal record, surrendered his real estate broker license in August 2012 after the California Department of Real Estate accused him of six violations.
During the July 10 sentencing in Quincy, visiting judge Thomas Kelly took into account that Morrison used some of the misappropriated money to help property owners with repairs and other bills.
“It was a sad situation all around,” District Attorney David Hollister said. “The victims all lost a great deal of money during a troubled economy. While he did try and use some of the money to assist property owners, he used much of the stolen proceeds for his own benefit.”
As part of his probation, Morrison was ordered to serve 182 days in the county jail, pay fines of nearly $1,000 and pay restitution in the amount of $54,031.95.