Formerly jailed attorney fails to lower Moriarty’s bail
October 25, 2013
Santa Maria attorney Scott Whitenack, who met Grover Beach financier Al Moriarty in San Luis Obispo County Jail, failed in his bid Thursday to reduce Moriarty’s $5 million bail.
San Luis Obispo County law enforcement officers arrested Whitenack three times this year for a range of misdemeanors and felonies, including public intoxication and second-degree burglary. Sheriff’s deputies last released Whitenack from jail on September 11.
Prior to leaving jail, Whitenack talked Moriarty, 80, into switching attorneys. Moriarty, who is accused of up to $22 million in financial fraud, dropped his previous attorney and had Whitenack represent him at an October 16 bail reduction hearing. Judge Barry LaBarbera continued the hearing until Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
Whitenack argued Thursday that the county is unconstitutionally holding Moriarty and that the court should reduce his bail to $240,000. He added that Moriarty has a bad hip.
Judge Dodie Harman said she would consider reducing Moriarty’s bail if Whitenack could prove his client owed less than $5 million to investors.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office investigator A.J. Santana testified that Moriarty owed more than $5 million and up to $22 million.
Whitenack asked numerous questions of Santana during cross-examination, but Harman sustained objections to many of them. Harman said repeatedly that Whitenack should ask the questions during trial, not during a bail reduction hearing.
Officers arrested Moriarty in May in Washington state for eight charges, including securities fraud and scheming to defraud. Moriarty moved to Washington in December and filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter.
Former Moriarty Enterprises investors have filed a total of 19 lawsuits claiming Moriarty committed fraud in his business dealings.