Mexicans Say They Were Taken in Texas

HOUSTON (CN) – Two Mexican meat exporters claim they were bilked of $378,000 by a man who claimed he could get them $12 million in credit. They say their representatives met on Sept. 2 with defendant Mike Morris, who took their checks and asked for passport and ID to make copies, then “disappeared upstairs and never returned.”

     Compania Ganadera Monterrey and Importadora de Embutidos, both of Guadalupe, Mexico, sued Mike Morris, Ana McEwing Murphee and Bogart Inc., in Harris County Court.
     Ganadera is Spanish for cattle ranching; embutido means sausage.
     According to the complaint, Morris said he worked for Austin-based Bogart Inc. and could arrange the credit through his company.
     The meat exporters claim that on Aug. 31 Bogart Inc. agreed to provide an $8 million line of credit to Compania Ganadera for a $252,000 fee, and agreed to supply a $4 million line of credit for Importadora de Embutidos for $126,000.
     “On Sept. 2, 2010 representatives of plaintiffs, Ricardo Reyes and Jose Garza, met with Morris at 5100 San Felipe to deliver the checks,” according to the complaint. “Morris requested Reyes’ Texas ID card and Garza’s passport to make copies. Morris disappeared upstairs and never returned. Reyes and Garza were escorted from the location by security. Reyes and Garza filed complaints with the Houston Police Department regarding the events on Sept. 2, 2010.”
     The plaintiffs claim that Morris twice had them change the payee on their checks.
     “Initially, the fee payment was to be made in the form of cashier check payable to Bogart. However, Morris requested the original cashier checks to be canceled and reissued payable to Juan Bautista Gomez. The check were reissued to the new payee, but Morris then requested the checks to be canceled and reissued payable to Ana McEwing Murphee. The checks were reissued on Sept. 2, 2010 payable to Ana McEwing Murphee,” according to the complaint.
     The plaintiffs want their money back, and punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract, conversion and breach of fiduciary duty.
     They are represented by George Farah of Houston.

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