The Investigators

Aug 15, 2013 11:00 PM by Matthew Schwartz

Morgan Stanley advisor pleads to stealing from Tucson charity

James W. Murphy is a prominent Tucsonan. The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned that Murphy is now also a felon. A former vice-president and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley, Murphy managed the money for 30 non-profit agencies in Tucson. He served on numerous boards, including the UMC foundation, and is a past president of the Ronald Mcdonald house.

Court records filed this week show that the 68 year-old Murphy has pleaded guilty to stealing about $100,000 from one of his accounts. The plea agreement states Murphy took the money in 2009 from 'The Elizabeth Ann Parkman Foundation", named after a well-known Tucson philanthropist. Mrs. Parkman died in 2009 at age 98. When Murphy stole from her charity, Mrs. Parkman, according to her daughter, was frail, nearly blind, and suffering from dementia.

Roz Parkman, Elizabeth's daughter, told us via Skype that her mother's charity has given millions of dollars since 1962 to countless groups in Tucson and worldwide. The News 4 Tucson Investigators asked Roz Parkman how her mother would feel about this if she were alive. "Her heart would be broken," she said. "I know mine is."

Roz Parkman says Murphy's theft will have a domino effect. She told us, "The recipients of some of these charities have not received the contributions that my mother's wishes would have wanted them to."

No one answered the door at Murphy's foothills home, which was raided in April by agents from the Arizona Attorney General's office. They seized dozens of expensive items, including at least two vintage cars: a 1940 Ford and a '69 Chevy Chevelle. Also: four boarding passes from a luxury cruise.

Skip Donau is Murphy's attorney. Donau said, "He and his family are absolutely devastated."

We asked Donau, "Should anyone else, whose money is with Morgan Stanley that he may have handled, be worried?" Donau said, "I am absolutely convinced, no. No one need be worried that dealt with Mr. Murphy during his career."

Roz Parkman says she hopes the theft of her mother's charity serves a bigger purpose.

She told us, "My main concern is that this case be an example to others that might be considering this type of abuse, elderly abuse."

James Murphy has resigned from Morgan Stanley. A manager at the Tucson office where Murphy worked declined comment, and referred us to the company's corporate office. A corporate spokeswoman told us, "We have no comment."

As part of the plea agreement, Murphy has agreed to pay $115,000 in restitution (that includes court costs) and a $25,000 fine to the Attorney General's Anti-Racketeering Fund. And, James Murphy has given up his license to practice as a financial advisor.

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