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.



Honestly, what the ? Does this guy have kids, I hope not. He is absolutely sick in the head but hey, it’s not Johnny’s fault, everybody was supposed to be watching him. I guess I’ll just stop here.


Happy State Bank in Dumas, Texas

(read it quickly, and skip the proununciation in French)

OK, it was childish, but man did that just sound funny…


First, the name of Mark Moore should appear in the main title so, in the future, we can all be protected from such a criminal upon doing Google searches.

It is rather regrettable that John Mark Moore decided to defraud so many people. In supplement to this wife and in-laws, it also appears that he stole from his kids, mother, friends, investors and banks. Mark Moore was trusted by our community as the President of the SLO County Farmt Bureau, a board member of the Central Coast Greenhouse Growers Association, Fire Chief of the County Central Committee – AKRON 4-O and an executive in several companies like C&M Nursery, Omni Agri Resources and American Microtech. How many more people did he enjoy steeling from?

What happened all of the money that he stole (not just the $50M that he acknowledged stealing in September 2012)?

Why is it taking so long for such a criminal to be put in jail? Nearly 10 months after his admission, the government decided to schedule his sentencing hearing. What is he doing in the meantime to support his family, $1.2M estate and everything else?

Also, how can his mother (Gail Moore) file for bankruptcy when nearly $50 M or more appears to have been moved into that company?

Indeed, the sale of avocados is not that much of a profitable business. So, can such a person be so successful yet, so much under the radar from all of us and now still around us for so long?

From other related cases, it appears that he has hurt many more. Isn’t it time for him to go reconsider his moronic excuses for a much longer time and come up with better ones?

Once a fraudster, always one…


LOL. It was funny and the fact that you admitted that you couldn’t help yourself made it twice as funny. It’s fun to be a kid sometimes.


I’d like to see all of his family brought up on charges: accessories to fraud. They new for a year, it sounds like, before the authorities were alerted. I’m sure that money was shuffled about to hide the assets stolen. I wonder what lifestyle they were enjoying before all these “avocado sales” turned out to be false.


“knew” not new. sorry.


Half expected to see Tom Geaslen’s name here.

CA Native

If he worked on Wall St., he’d be getting a nice bonus.


or a politician, he’d be elected


“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.”

Another bad person doing bad things and then whining about it and blaming others…

Spirit Filled

Regardless the bank employees screwed up. Up to the bank to train their people. Guards should never be down when taking care of other people’s money. Sounds like flakey banks and management. And employees. What banks were involved in this?



The banks knew they were “To big to fail” and that the taxpayers would just bail them out, while the execs walked away with billions thanks to their friends in Washington

Jorge Estrada

Another example of Less is Moore. This is why the banks need to charge Moore fees. ka bunk ka bunk


Moore – on.



“Moore blames a total system failure, along with bank employees who were easily manipulated by compliments”. Compliments?


Yeah, like in the “Leave It to Beaver Show,” when the smarmy teenage neighbor, Eddie Haskell, would say, “My, what a BEAUTIFUL dress you have on today, Mrs. Cleaver.”

Like that, but hopefully not as transparent.


Mr. Moore I remember reading your moronic comment before about them letting their guard down as a defense. You obviously don’t realize that what they had done (foolishly) was called trust. It is BECAUSE you where the son in law, they thought that you could be trusted. YOU don’t understand what that is.

You will have pleanty of time to reflect on that word. Oh and maybe you can put your TRUST in your new friends in prison when they say, don’t worry about picking up the soap.


Yeah, this guy was obviously a competent con artist who fooled not only financial institutions and others but his immediate family as well. Blaming it on their willingness to trust is a sign that he has nothing resembling a moral code or conscience. I hope that he is sentenced to a long enough period so that he can be transferred directly to a nursing home when he gets out of prison. Considering the extent of financial damage he did to people, he deserves no mercy.