Wheeling developer faces wire fraud charges in historic renovation project

WHEELING, W.Va. – A Wheeling businessman has been charged with wire fraud in connection with the renovation of the Scottish Rite Cathedral in East Wheeling.

Jeffrey James Morris, the managing member and majority owner of Roxby Development, LLC, allegedly used a $350,000 investment for the project from another investor for other purposes.

Morris is also accused of misrepresenting the work performed on the cathedral, the status of the historic tax credits, and the projected amount of rental income from a potential tenant.

Federal prosecutors say Roxby Development, LLC, was formed to acquire and develop area real estate in the region, including the Cathedral, the McClure House Hotel, and the Mount Carmel Monastery. Roxby Companies received a total of $6.9 million from approximately 20 investors between October 2019 and July 2022, according to the charges.

“Jeffrey Morris made misrepresentations to people in Wheeling, West Virginia, and throughout the country in order to fund a fraudulent scheme,” said United States Attorney for Northern West Virginia Bill Ihlenfeld. “His arrest today brings an end to a ruse in which innocent investors were tricked into providing him with millions of dollars.”

Ihlenfeld said additional charges will be filed at a later date, but his arrest was made Friday because Morris had plans to travel outside the United States next week.

Morris appeared in federal court Friday afternoon, surrendered his passport, and was released under terms and conditions set out by the judge.

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