Johnnie Morton Jr. gets probation

Updated: July 3, 2012, 2:55 AM ET
Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Former NFL wide receiver Johnnie Morton Jr. was sentenced Monday to two years of probation for lying to a grand jury during a criminal probe of his California business associate, federal authorities said.

Morton, who once played for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, conceded he lied during 2009 testimony when he said he didn't have business dealings with 32-year-old Neang Chhorvann, the Internal Revenue Service said in a statement.

Morton, 40, later acknowledged he had given the Bishop, Calif., man more than $2 million to be invested and had placed a call to one of Chhorvann's associates posing as a potential investor at Chhorvann's request, the agency said.

Chhorvann pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in 2011. He failed to appear for sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest, federal officials said. Chhorvann could face up to 10 years in prison, officials said.

Defense attorney Fred Heather said Morton's money was stolen from him and that Chhorvann threatened to kill Morton's parents if Morton testified against him.

"Johnnie's parents are the most important thing in his life, so when he was called to testify, instead of explaining he had had money stolen, he denied having a business relationship with Chhorvann," Heather said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Waier said federal prosecutors looked into the alleged threats against Morton but could not corroborate them.

"We cannot substantiate those threats," she said.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press