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Monia faces 11 new felony charges
A Cape Girardeau man now faces 15 felony charges in two counties in connection with a series of cases in which he is accused of defrauding nine people of $567,500.
Keith Monia, 52, already faced two counts each of forgery and financial exploitation of the elderly and a civil suit in connection with a pair of cases in which he is accused of defrauding three people of about $300,000 by telling them he was going to invest the money in annuities for them.
On Monday, Cape Girardeau County assistant prosecutor Angel Woodruff filed eight felony charges against Monia, and on July 26, a Scott County grand jury indicted him on three counts of financial exploitation of the elderly, adding to the two counts each of forgery and financial exploitation of the elderly filed earlier this year in Scott County.
The new charges came as a result of a state investigation into Monia's activities, Scott County Detective Branden Caid said.
One of the Cape Girardeau County cases involves a 2007 transaction that prompted the civil suit against Monia.
Paul Bollinger of Jackson sued Monia in 2010, saying Monia took $80,000 from him, promising to invest the money in annuities for him.
Monia claimed he believed the money was a gift.
Count 1 of the Cape Girardeau County warrant filed Monday charges Monia with Class A financial exploitation of the elderly in connection with the Bollinger case.
In addition, Woodruff charged Monia with a second count of Class A financial exploitation of the elderly, four counts of Class B financial exploitation of the elderly, one count of forgery and one count of stealing by deceit.
In all but two of the cases, Monia is alleged to have taken clients' money, promised to invest it in annuities plans for them, then failed to make the investments.
The remaining Cape Girardeau County charges -- one count of financial exploitation of the elderly and one count of forgery -- stem from a case in which Monia is accused of keeping $7,500 he was supposed to apply toward the purchase of a modular home for a client.
Caid of the Scott County Sheriff's Department has said in the initial case, Monia persuaded a Scott City couple to give him more than $200,000, most of which ended up going to George Joseph, 48.
In June, Joseph was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action in connection with the May 30 shooting deaths of his wife and son.
After Caid's investigation into the Scott City case, the FBI began looking into Monia's activities, Caid said. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services then became involved.
"Since Health and Senior Services is mandated to investigate any case involving elder abuse, it was referred to them, because there's no jurisdictional boundary for the state officers," Caid said.
In April, Joseph told Caid he was a day trader who invested money for other people and had no idea Monia -- who once belonged to a 60-member investment club Joseph was running -- had not obtained the money through legitimate means, Caid said.
Monia contended he gave the money to Joseph to invest in annuities through American Equity, but Joseph failed to invest the money, Caid said.
Monia gave a similar explanation to a state investigator, according to a probable-cause statement filed in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court.
"He told me all of the other transactions with American Equity went through Mr. George Joseph. He said Mr. Joseph turned those over to American Equity. Mr. Monia essentially maintained his claim that Mr. Joseph defrauded him and that he (Mr. Monia) was not guilty of any wrongdoing," investigator Gregrey Martin wrote in the statement.
During a preliminary hearing on Joseph's murder charges last month, Joseph's brother-in-law testified that Joseph had been researching money laundering the day before the shootings and was worried because he was the target of a federal investigation.
On July 25, Monia was granted a change of judge in the initial Scott County case. At the time, his lawyer also said he planned to request a change of venue.
Outside the courtroom that afternoon, Monia declined to comment.
Last week, Cape Girardeau County Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis also granted a change of venue in Bollinger's civil case against Monia, transferring the case to Wayne County, Mo.
100 Court St., Jackson, MO
Map of pertinent addresses
- Probable cause statement in Monia fraud case (08/06/13)
- Monia granted change of judge (07/26/13)
- Joseph requests change of judge, venue in murder case (08/06/13)
- Witness: Double-murder suspect researched money laundering day before shootings (07/24/13)
- Joseph told detective he was running 60-member 'investment club' (06/20/13)
- Police: Joseph clients should call attorney (06/19/13)
- Monia's criminal charges (08/07/13)