Clayton Morris -- a former host of Fox & Friends -- was part owner of Oceanpointe, a company that sold turnkey landlord services in Indianapolis to investors who could send Oceanpointe money, which the company would invest in properties that they would repair and rent out.
Investors in the scheme -- mostly out of towners, many of them attracted by Morris's Youtube videos promising great returns with no work on their part -- say it was a Ponzi scheme and that Morris and his partner Bert Whalen did substandard repairs that left investors in the position of being slumlords who were liable for unsafe living conditions for their tenants. They claim that many properties were unrentable and that Morris and Whalen forged leases purporting to come from tenants, and used payments from new investors to pay off existing investors.
Several lawsuit have been filed against Whalen and Morris and states' attorneys general have officially queried the men. At least 700 homes were flipped by Oceanpointe, many in poor neighborhoods.
Morris's primary defense is that he was unaware of all this and was merely the pitchman for Whalen, who was responsible for the inhumane living conditions and financial shenanigans.
Morris's wife, Natali Morris, blamed the focus on her husband on "polarization," implying that the public had latched onto him because of their political differences with him and Fox News, and not because he had shilled for a grifter who immiserated Indianapolis's poorest people while defrauding Morris's fans of their life's savings.
IndyStar reported in March that investors were accusing Morris of running a Ponzi scheme with Whalen's help. Together they sold at least 700 homes in some of Indianapolis's most troubled neighborhoods.
Investors suing Morris — mostly out-of-state real estate novices — claim he sold them houses with a promise to rehab them, find tenants and manage the properties. All they had to do, according to a video on his popular YouTube channel, was sit back and collect the rent checks.
But those rehabs didn't happen or were superficial, the investors claim. They accuse Morris and Whalen of covering their tracks by providing fake leases and sending rent checks even though the properties were vacant. Many of the investors say they only discovered the truth when they began receiving code violations and condemnation notices from the city.
Ex-Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris leaves country amid fraud allegations [Tony Cook and Tim Evans/Indianapolis Star]
(Thanks, Kathy Padilla!)