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Nipomo man pleads guilty to $50 million fraud scheme

By C.J. Ward, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Anchor/Reporter, cj.ward@keyt.com
Published On: Apr 30 2013 01:50:02 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 30 2013 01:40:25 PM CDT
SANTA ANA, Calif. -

A Nipomo man could spend 100 years in a federal prison for running a fraud scheme that bilked his victims out of almost $50 million. John Mark Moore, 51, pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges relating to his scheme that lasted more than 11 years. Five banks and his own in-laws are among the victims.

Moore pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements to Farm Credit West in Templeton, one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.

Moore will be sentenced July 29.

Here's the complete press release from the Department of Justice:

    SANTA ANA, California - A Central Coast man pleaded 
guilty this afternoon in a wide-ranging fraud scheme that 
caused more than $47 million in losses to several victims, 
including his in-laws, who were long-established and 
well-respected farmers in San Luis Obispo County.

        John Mark Moore, 51, of Nipomo, pleaded guilty today to federal
charges relating to his fraud scheme, which continued for well over a decade
until he came clean to his family in the fall of 2011 and then to federal
authorities last year.

        Appearing before United States District Judge David O. Carter, Moore
pleaded guilty to four federal offenses: two counts of making false
statements to Farm Credit West (FCW), a production credit association in
Templeton, California; one count of mail fraud; and one count of wire fraud.

        Over the course of 11 years, Moore misappropriated approximately $24
million from his in-laws, plus another $23 million from five banks and
another individual who was a friend and business associate of his in-laws.

        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-law's 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-law's

business and personal accounts at 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-law's 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-law's business and personal lines of
credit from 2000 through 2011, and he fully defaulted on these obligations.

        In another scheme, Moore fraudulently obtained funds by increasing
his lines of credits he obtained in the name of himself, his wife, his
companies, and his mother through various means, including forging his wife'
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 - including FCW, Heritage Oaks
Bank, Union Bank, Rabobank and Happy State Bank in Dumas, Texas - 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 with GLM 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
defendant's fraudulent scheme, GLM lost more than $12 million, which was
never repaid.

        The false statement charges each carry a statutory maximum penalty
of 30 years in federal prison, and the fraud charges each carry a potential
penalty of 20 years in prison. Therefore, as a result of his guilty pleas
today, Moore faces a potential sentence of 100 years in federal prison. The
actual sentence will be determined by Judge Carter when he sentences Moore
on July 29.

        Moore self-reported his illegal conduct to federal authorities over
the course of 2012. Based on the information he provided and a subsequent
investigation, the case against Moore is the product of work completed by
special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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