Nipomo man pleads guilty to embezzling nearly $50 million

April 30, 2013

cuffsA Nipomo man pleaded guilty this afternoon to a fraud scheme that caused more than $47 million in losses to several victims, including his in-laws, a friend and five banks.

John Mark Moore, 51, operated the fraud scheme for well over a decade before he came clean to his family in the fall of 2011 and then to federal authorities last year.

Moore admitted that he forged loan documents while socializing with bank employees who failed to validate signatures, documents say. He blames bank employees for letting their guard down. Moore contends that because he was the son-in-law of bank board member Michael Cavaletto, employees allowed him to perpetuate the theft.

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, one count of mail fraud; and one count of wire fraud.

Over the course of 11 years, Moore embezzled 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.

In early 2000, Moore began managing the Cavaletto family trust. Cavaletto is an avocado grower and the co-owner of C&M Nursery in Nipomo. It was at this time Moore started applying for loans in Cavaletto’s name, without informing Cavaletto, according to documents obtained by CalCoastNews.

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 Farm Credit West 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 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.

Moore also 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.

Moore blames a total system failure, along with bank employees who were easily manipulated by compliments, for his decade long history of embezzlement, according to records obtained by CalCoastNews.

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.


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I’m afraid of short tipping a waitress and this cat has the pouch to embezzle $50 million? oh snap.. I’m wrong it’s “nearly” $50 Million. as you were.

100 million here, 120 million there,where the hell is all this money coming from? People say all this money, or at least a hell of a lot of it is coming from the elderly. Seems like almost every time I read a story it’s like watching greed on tv. Well this is one elderly that won’t be adding to the rich and infamous. I’m too busy feeding the poor including my family.

I just read about Robert Fowler. 127 Million in debt. What? Too many crooks and not enough punishment or anyone to catch the crooks like they do on tv. Time to change the channel.

I’m not saying Mr. Fowler is a crook. I just wonder how he could spend that kind of money and where did it all go? Guess I will have to read more of the story

Have a great day, Blessings

Indeed, John Mark Moore appears to have started with the elderly – his in-laws (reported at $13,8N) and mother (I can only guess that he stole $47M from her but one would have to review more closely all of the claims in cases 12_01132 and 2012_10503).

Then, Mark Moore moved on to his wife, kids, friends and banks. It appears that this plea bargain only reflects the work required to potentially secure a jail conviction that will last for many years of his remaining life. What I mean here is that we appear to not get a clear picture of all of the total amounts of money that he stolen from the elderly, his wife, his kids, his friends and many unreported others. Just a fault of our judicial system…

At Cal Poly and in the ag industry, the reputation of Moore Ag was already really bad so we all knew that if they wanted supplies, it was best to request a payment in cash in advance and many did not want to sell to Moore Ag.

– What happened to all of the money?

– What happened also to the money that went to Trinidad-Tobago for Mark Moore’s other business activities?

– As he started businesses with activities worldwide, is this how the $47+M money disappeared and got hidden away?

I am ashamed that this guy was calling himself a farmer when, really, he discovered ways to steal from us directly when he worked at a financial institution and probably from his father. Will his sentencing be long enough so he never gets to enjoy the money that seems to have disappeared into thin air? Who will benefit in the long run from his illegal activities and hidden proceeds?

According to the Tribune this morning, prosecutors are requesting minimum time for him, 10 years, which will likely be reduced to a few years for good behavior. So he walks in a few years with how many hidden bucks in some foreign account. If he gets the 10 years, he will have won his own lottery! Justice not will served for the people, again…

You nailed it, SLOBIRD. He has his money hid, and will only serve a few years in Lompoc Prison. I would like to hear something from his wife.

A few years in Lompoc is no walk in the park. I have spoken to guards out there. Not pleasant guys. He could get terrible punishment in 2 minutes and never recover.

God Bless and protect prisoners. Let them get their just punishment. Not what is doled out by other prisoners.

Wow, I’m surprised I get to pick this low-hanging blog fruit…

How many years long do you actually think his sentence will be? How many years do you think he will serve? How many years will he get just for defrauding the folks in Dumas, Texas (I feel sorry for them already)?