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The following article was posted on May 1st, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 40

Moore pleads guilty in $47 million fraud scheme

BY MATT FOUNTAIN

A Nipomo man has pleaded guilty to bilking his family and a number of financial institutions out of roughly $47 million.

On April 29, former CoreClean president John Mark Moore, 51, of Nipomo, followed through on his plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to two felony counts of making false statements to a banking institution, one count of mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud.

Moore, who also served as the president of the SLO County Farm Bureau from 2007 to 2009, agreed to plead guilty in a Feb. 14 deal with prosecutors that would essentially ensure a lighter sentence.

In the agreement, prosecutors wrote that they recommended an easier sentence “in view of [Moore’s] self-reporting and disclosure of the full scope of his offensive conduct, reflecting an extraordinary degree of thoroughness and candor in explaining the nature of the offenses at issue in connection with preliminary pre-indictment discussions,” the agreement reads.

Under the terms of the agreement, Moore agreed not to skirt his obligations for restitution by filing bankruptcy.

Over the course of about 11 years, Moore misappropriated roughly $24 million from his in-laws, and another $23 million from five banks and a business associate.

In March 2012, New Times reported that Moore made unauthorized withdrawals from the bank accounts and lines of credit of his father- and mother-in-law, and used the money to support his businesses Moore Agricultural Products and American Microtech, LLC.

In a separate scheme, Moore forged family members’ signatures on bank documents to extend lines of credit at Farm Credit West, then took money out without the ability to pay Paul with funds from Peter. Forging family members’ signatures allowed Moore to increase those credit lines, in one case from $1 million to $6.5 million. Moore further borrowed about $10.5 million from his father-in-law’s business and personal lines of credit between 2000 and 2011 and completely defaulted on those loans.

Moore’s attorney, Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Rutherford, previously told New Times that Moore has owned up to his misdeeds and deserves leniency for his cooperation with investigators.

“This plea agreement reflects his acceptance of responsibility,” Rutherford said. “Mr. Moore deeply regrets his actions and accepts full responsibility for his crimes and the harm he has caused.”

According to a Department of Justice press release, the false statements charge carries with it a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison, and the fraud charges each carry a potential 20 years in prison, meaning Moore faces a possible 100 years behind bars. Given his cooperation with investigators, however, that term is highly unlikely.

His actual sentence will be determined by U.S. District Judge David Carter on July 29.