Mark Morant, the Cleveland Man Who Lived 15 Minutes of Fame and Controversy After Finding $640,000 on the Street 20 Years Ago, Has a New Single About His Life


The $640,000 story is now a music video - SCENE'S 2003 ARTICLE
  • Scene's 2003 article
  • The $640,000 story is now a music video

Twenty years ago, a man named Mark Morant found $640,000 in cash on a street in downtown Cleveland that had just fallen out of an armored truck.

And so began a whirlwind of controversy and fame.

Morant, who worked a couple of security jobs at the time, told Scene and others back then that he tried to wave down the truck when he saw the money fall. Failing to draw the attention of the driver, he took the money home and put it in his basement, seals unbroken on the stacks of cash.

Over the next 48 hours, he said he tried to call the FBI, but couldn't get anyone on the line. When he did finally get in touch, according to Scene's coverage, "The FBI obviously didn't buy his story. He was treated more like a criminal than a good Samaritan. Agents interrogated him for two hours, berating and accusing him of theft and conspiracy, he says. Then they sent him on his way — without the $75,000 reward" that had been offered.

Morant hired George Forbes in his pursuit of payment. A string of stories and interviews followed, landing Morant on the national media landscape and in the pages of the National Enquirer.

The pressure campaign worked — the FBI caved and said Morant could collect the $75,000. But two other people had also called the FBI hoping to get paid as well, people who saw the description of Morant before he was publicly identified and alerted the Feds to who he was. For their efforts, one got $10,000 of the $75,000 Morant was to collect and the other got $15,000 from the company that owned the truck.

Morant walked away with $43,334 after paying George Forbes.

"Not my cut . . . my fee," Forbes told Scene in 2003. "Shit, I work for my money. If I don't get paid, he don't get paid."

Morant took his lump sum and was judicious, even if the money quickly ran out. He started Igloo Crew Records, a label that put out some forgettable local tracks by Cleveland artists.

"Even if I'd've kept the money, they would have traced the serial numbers — and the next thing you know, I'm lookin' at my little girls through a plate of glass, and my wife is out here as a single parent. It wasn't worth it to me," Morant told Scene when asked if after all he'd been through if he had second thoughts about simply keeping the money.

Skip ahead 20 years and Morant this spring released a single about his life on that old Igloo Crew Records label, bringing the story to a modern audience who probably has no idea that this little slice of Cleveland history even existed.

It's below.

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