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Nipomo Man Gets 11+ Years in Fraud Conviction

The Federal Bureau of Investigations released the following press release on behalf of the United States Attorney’s Office:

A Central Coast man was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison for his role in an extensive fraud scheme that caused tens of millions of dollars in losses to several victims.

John Mark Moore, 51, of Nipomo, was sentenced late Monday afternoon by United States District Judge David O. Carter in United States District Court in Orange County. In addition to the prison term, Moore was sentenced to five years supervised release and was ordered to pay more than $46 million in restitution. Moore will begin serving his prison term on November 11, 2013.

Over the course of 11 years, Moore misappropriated approximately $24 million from his in-laws, who were long-established and well-respected farmers in San Luis Obispo County. Moore also fraudulently obtained well over $20 million from five banks and one other individual who was a friend and business associate of his in-laws.

Moore pleaded guilty in April to federal fraud charges relating to the scheme, which continued unabated until he came clean to his family in the fall of 2011 and then to federal authorities last year.

In court documents, prosecutors said Moore orchestrated various fraud schemes that caused $48.7 million in losses, with nearly half of those losses being sustained by his in-laws, other family members and a family friend.

According to court documents, Moore took unauthorized disbursements from the bank accounts and lines of credit belonging to his father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Once he had control of the funds derived from his in-laws accounts, Moore used the money to support businesses that he and his father controlled. Over the course of approximately 11 years, Moore diverted approximately $13.8 million from his in-laws’ business and personal accounts at Farm Credit West (FCW) and transferred the money to his father’s company, Moore Agricultural Products (which after March 2004 was owned by his mother) or to companies Moore himself owned, such as American Microtech, LLC.

In another scheme, Moore also stole money from his in-laws by fraudulently increasing their personal and business lines of credit at FCW, and then fully drawing down on these lines of credit without having the ability to repay these loans.

Moore improperly increased these lines of credit by repeatedly forging his in-laws’ signatures on several loan applications that allowed him to increase their personal and business lines of credit at FCW in one case from $1 million to $6.5 million and, in another case, from $1 million to $4 million.

Accordingly, Moore fraudulently borrowed $10.5 million against his in-laws’ business and personal lines of credit from 2000 through 2011, and he fully defaulted on these obligations.

In another scheme, since the early 2000s, Moore fraudulently obtained funds by increasing lines of credits he obtained for himself, his wife, his companies, and his mother through various means, including forging his wife’s signature, submitting false personal financial statements, and pledging phony collateral to secure the loans.

As a result of this fraudulent borrowing, the victim lending institutions B including FCW, Heritage Oaks Bank, Union Bank, Rabobank and Happy State Bank in Dumas, Texas B sustained aggregate losses of approximately $11.4 million.

In the fourth scheme in this case, Moore bilked a friend and business associate of his in-laws beginning in 2002 when Moore entered into a series of ranching and farming ventures with the victim. As part of Moore’s scheme to defraud his in-laws’ friend, who is identified in court documents as “GLM,” Moore entered into a bogus contract in which he agreed to undertake various agricultural ventures and share the proceeds of these ventures in exchange for GLM providing the start-up capital.

However, Moore had no intention of starting agricultural ventures, and instead he used GLM’s money for other purposes. As a result of Moore’s fraudulent scheme, GLM lost more than $12 million.

The case against Moore was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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