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VesCor manager convicted in Utah Ponzi scheme

Published February 12, 2013 6:35 pm

Fraud • Moore guilty of nine felonies, faces sentencing in April.
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Sentencing is set in April for the former manager of what was among the largest investments scams in Utah history.

A jury last week found Shawn H. Moore guilty of nine felony charges for his role in operating VesCor Capital, the Ogden real estate development company that cost investors more than $180 million when it filed for bankruptcy in 2006.

VesCor offered investments in real estate projects but in fact operated as a Ponzi scheme. Money from new investors went to previous investors in order to make the business appear profitable and enable it to attract even more money.

VesCor Capital owner Val Southwick pleaded guilty in June 2008 to nine counts of securities fraud and was sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison on each count, with the sentences to run consecutively. At least one other person, business agent William J. Hammons, has been found guilty of crimes connected with the scheme.

Moore managed investor relations for VesCor and offered and sold investments, according to the Utah Attorney General's Office.

He was convicted at the end of a six-day trial of defrauding five groups of Utah investors who suffered losses estimated at more than $489,000.

Among other things, prosecutors said that when Moore pitched investments he failed to disclose the terrible financial condition of the company, which forensic accountants have said was insolvent from its inception and operated as a Ponzi scheme to give the illusion of profitability.

Moore is scheduled to be sentenced by 3rd District Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman on April 12. —

VesCor Corp., a brief history

Its business • Offered investments in real estate projects

Its crime • Insolvent since inception, it operated as a Ponzi scheme

Its consequences • Three people have been found guilty of crimes connected with the scheme