SAN JOSE — Eight months after fleeing to the Caribbean to avoid charges that they stole $10 million from their insurance clients, a San Jose couple appeared in court for the first time and were each ordered held on $10 million bail.
Robert and Kimberly Morgan did not address the judge or enter pleas during their hearing Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, though Robert Morgan smiled slightly in a brief conversation with his attorney. The judge set the next hearing for Sept. 25.
Robert Morgan, 37, could face 16 years in prison if convicted; Mrs. Morgan, 36, could get eight years.
Robert Morgan allegedly bilked about $10 million from 700 clients of ISU Diligent Insurance Agency in San Jose. Prosecutor Stephen Lowney said that the company collected premiums for insurance policies that were never written, and as much as $3 million went into the Morgans’ pockets.
Late last year, as investigators were close to charging him, Morgan and his wife disappeared from their $950,000 hillside home with their two young children, nanny and dog.
They fled to St. Lucia, where they allegedly assumed the identities of two of their cousins, who live in San Jose, and settled in one of the island’s most exclusive neighborhoods. The nanny, Jean Checketts, also allegedly took another person’s identity.
The Morgans were arrested last month – after family members tipped authorities – and extradited to San Jose, where they arrived Monday night, Lowney said.
Robert Morgan is charged with insurance fraud, grand theft and identity theft. His wife faces theft charges relating to the couple’s escape to the Caribbean; prosecutors have yet to charge her in the alleged insurance scam. The nanny, who is cooperating with investigators, will not be charged, Lowney said.
Defense attorneys contend that the couple panicked and feared for their children when authorities began investigating Kimberly Morgan as well as her husband.