A former residential manager accused of bilking developmentally disabled clients of their disaster relief checks after the 1994 Northridge earthquake pleaded guilty this week, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Richard Morgan, 61, of Reseda pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to three felony charges of converting FEMA funds for his own use.
Morgan compensated the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the entire $8,100 that he took but still faces a federal prison term ranging from 10 to 16 months when he is sentenced in October, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Nathan Hochman, the prosecutor in the case.
"This is a guy who thought if he paid back the money nothing would happen to him," Hochman said. "He's finding out that that is not the case."
Morgan was employed as a live-in manager at Valverde, a Reseda facility that provided housing and supervision for adults with disabilities such as Down's syndrome and cerebral palsy, when the thefts occurred. He persuaded several residents who had claims with FEMA for personal items damaged in the earthquake to sign over their relief checks to him.
Morgan then deposited the checks into his personal account and spent more than $5,000 to buy a car and make purchases at an electronics store, a U.S. attorney's investigation found.