As our loved ones age, they can become more susceptible to fraud and manipulation by opportunistic criminals. While such abuses can come from strangers, often the perpetrator is someone known to the elderly person. Just this scenario is alleged to have happened to the late prolific comic book author, Stan Lee. Lee was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and creator of beloved superheroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, and the X-Men, to name just a few. Stan Lee’s former manager / business partner, Keya Morgan, was arrested last week in Arizona on multiple charges including, false imprisonment, grand theft from an elder and elder abuse.
Allegedly, Lee’s former business partner, Morgan, pocketed over a quarter of a million dollars that Lee made during autograph signing sessions in May of 2018. It is further alleged that in June of 2018, Morgan lead Lee to believe his life was in danger and convinced Lee he had to leave his Hollywood Hills home and go to a secure Beverly Hills condo; reportedly this was done so that Morgan could exert even more control over Lee. Only a few days after being moved to the secure condominium, Lee was removed from the location when Morgan was arrested for making fake 911 calls in May 2018, allegedly as part of Morgan’s plot to make Lee believe that his life was in danger.
Morgan, a comic book memorabilia collector, reportedly became close to Lee after the death of Lee’s wife, Joan Lee, in 2017. Morgan gradually became more and more involved in Lee’s life and exercised an increasing amount of influence on the writer, until the events of May and June of 2018, which led to Lee getting a restraining order against Morgan. The restraining order prohibited Morgan from making any contact with Lee and prohibited him from being within one-hundred yards; the restraining order remained in effect until Lee’s passing in November of 2018, at the age of 95.
There are many signs of elder abuse, such as sudden changes to living arrangements, like in Lee’s situation. Such changes in living arrangements can fall under a larger umbrella strategy of isolation of the elderly person by the abuser. Isolating the elderly person from contact with friends and family can be one of the main weapons of the abuser to exert control and influence over the vulnerable person. Another point of concern can be any sudden or unusual changes regarding wills, trusts, financial accounts, or decision-making authority, which are all red flags.
Stan Lee’s story is a warning that elder abuse can happen to anyone, even a famous and beloved figure like the creator of The Avengers. Here at The Probate ProSM, we have experienced and knowledgeable attorneys to help you and your loved ones protect against elder abuse. If you can’t find superheroes to protect against such abuse, having the right attorneys is the next best thing. Give us a call at The Probate ProSM so we can help you put in the proper safeguards to help protect against elder abuse.
Written by Andrew Diamond