Dunard Morris, who stands accused of embezzling millions of dollars from a Chesterfield medical practice, violated his pre-trial release agreement by keeping a dangerous weapon, federal authorities say.
The U.S. attorney’s office has asked a federal judge in St. Louis to revoke Morris’ bail in part because a “military-style knife with a retractable blade” was found under the pillow of his bed in Arizona, where he is staying at his father’s home, according to court papers.
The knife was found by Morris’ younger brother, Darryl, who told investigators that his brother lied to him about getting rid of the knife. He described it as having a blade of about five to six inches long, a camouflage handle and a blade that “pops out,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sauer told the court.
Darryl Morris has rescinded his offer to serve as a “third-party custodian” of his brother, who has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges as well as a charge that he violated the nation’s 'stolen valor' law by posing as a decorated war hero.
Sauer said it was the second time that Dunard Morris had tried to hide weapons in potential violation of his bail agreement, which prohibits him to have any contact with firearms or dangerous weapons. Sauer said that Morris had previously given false information to a pre-trial services officer about two of his firearms, including a .45 caliber pistol that was hidden behind a bookshelf in his father’s home.
U.S. District Judge David Noce has rescheduled a bail revocation hearing for Morris for June 11. The hearing was delayed because Morris was bitten recently by a scorpion in Arizona, according to his lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Kevin Curran.
Meanwhile, new details have surfaced about Morris’ alleged spending at Chesterfield-based Metropolitan Urological Specialists PC. Morris, the medical firm's former chief executive, was fired in September.
The FBI obtained permission in November from a federal magistrate to seize up to $2.8 million from bank accounts that were in the name of Dunard Morris and his wife Donna, according to a Nov. 21 affidavit by FBI Special Agent Billy Cox.
According to the search warrant affidavit, Morris purchased at least 44 pieces of jewelry and watches $620,000 from Clarkson Jewelers between 2006 and 2011.
Two former Metropolitan employees told investigators that, in the last year or so before he was fired, Morris had begun drinking alcohol on a routine basis at Annie Gunn’s and Il Bel Lago restaurants. Morris often dined with Metropolitan doctors and other guests at the two restaurants.
Brittany Brandt, a former Metropolitan employee, told investigators that Morris started drinking on a frequent basis during May 2009 and eventually stopped coming into the office. He began spending all day at Annie Gunn’s, where he would direct Brandt and other employees to deliver paperwork to him at table #21.
Morris bought a Rolex watch worth about $6,900 for Brandt, and paid for her personal trip to Florida at a cost of $1,700, she told investigators.
Another Metropolitan employee, Allison Burke, told investigators that Morris directed her to pay bills of $10,000 or more that he had put on a house account at Annie Gunn’s.
She said that Morris incurred about $244,000 in meals and entertainment expenses in 2010, and about $143,000 in meal and entertainment expenses from January through July of 2011.
Burke said that Morris hired her at an initial salary of $36,000, which he increased to $86,000 the next year, $110,000 the following year, and finally to $142,000. Burke told investigators that she believed that Morris was “buying her silence.”
Burke also said that Morris last year started directing her to pay what she characterized as “crazy” expenses, including $36,000 for the wedding of one of the physician’s daughters and $39,300 that Morris claimed to have incurred from paying “bookies” for a waiter at Il Bel Lago.
Morris directed her to pay Christmas bonuses to the corporate staff of $10,000 to $25,000 as well to pay for some of their family vacations, Burke told investigators.
Also according to the affidavit, Morris gave a Patek Phillipe watch insured for about $18,000 to Jim Kratzer, an executive vice president and senior lending officer at Reliance Bancshares in Frontenac. Kratzer accepted the gift before he worked at the bank.
Dr. Luis Anglo, the medical firm’s president, told investigators that Morris wrote a $25,000 Metropolitan check to a car dealership as a down payment on Morris' 2009 Porsche Cabriolet, another $25,000 check toward his purchase of a 2011 Porsche Panamera, and a nearly $15,000 check as a down payment on a 2010 Cadillac Escalade for Burke.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The story was updated on July 1 to clarify that Kratzer received the gift before his tenure at Reliance Bancshares.