A VesCor manager was convicted of defrauding investors out of nearly a half-million dollars through an elaborate ponzi scheme. After a six-day jury trial, Shawn H. Moore, 46, was found guilty on February 6 of four second-degree felony counts of securities fraud, four third-degree felony counts of sales by an unlicensed agent and one second-degree felony count of pattern of unlawful activity.
Moore was an employee and manager of VesCor. The Utah company was started by Val E. Southwick in the early 1990’s and continued through May of 2008 until it was taken over by a federally appointed receiver. VesCor was comprised of dozens of entities with more than 80 bank accounts.
VesCor’s purported business was the financing, acquisition, ownership, development and management of commercial and residential real estate in the Western U.S. Hundreds of investors from 26 different states and nine foreign countries lost more than $200 million. Southwick was convicted in June 2008 of nine counts of securities fraud and sentenced to one-15 years in prison on each count. Those counts were ordered to run consecutively.
As proven at trial, Moore was in charge of investor relations for VesCor and offered and sold investments in the company. Moore was convicted of defrauding five groups of Utah investors who suffered losses estimated at more than $489,000.
Moore promised annual returns ranging from 10.5% to 16%. He touted the investments as safe investments in real property but failed to disclose to investors that VesCor had been sanctioned on three separate occasions by the Utah Division of Securities for securities violations. Moore also failed to disclose the dire financial condition of the company, which evidence showed was insolvent from its inception and operated as a Ponzi scheme, wholly dependent on new investor cash to pay liabilities to previous investors.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Che Arguello with the A.G.’s Mortgage and Financial Fraud Unit. He was assisted by Scheree Wilcox, paralegal for the A.G.’s Mortgage and Financial Fraud Unit; Gil Miller and John Curtis, accountants to the federally appointed receiver; Robert G. Wing; Jared N. Parrish, counsel to the receiver; and Brian G. Lloyd, Esq. of Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, who testified as the state’s retained securities expert. The case was investigated by the Utah Division of Securities.
Moore is scheduled to be sentenced by Third District Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman on April 12, 2013. A jail booking photo of Moore can be found here: