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VesCor manager convicted of defrauding investors

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 3:48 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A former VesCor executive has been convicted of bilking investors out of nearly a half-million dollars through an elaborate ponzi scheme, according to the Utah Attorney General's Office.

Following a six-day jury trial, Shawn H. Moore, 46, was found guilty of four counts of securities fraud, a second-degree felony, four counts of sales by an unlicensed agent, a third-degree felony, and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony, said A.G. spokesman Paul Murphy.

Moore was a manager of VesCor — a Utah company founded by Val Southwick in the early 1990s — 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 United States. Hundreds of investors from 26 different states and nine foreign countries lost more than $200 million, according to Murphy.

Southwick was convicted in June 2008 of nine counts of securities fraud and sentenced to one to 15 years in prison on each count with those counts running consecutively.  

Moore was in charge of investor relations for VesCor, offering and selling investments in the company. He was convicted of defrauding five groups of Utah investors who suffered losses estimated at more than $489,000, prosecutors said.

In luring investors, Moore allegedly promised annual returns ranging from 10.5 percent to 16 percent.

He touted the ventures as safe investments in real property but he failed to disclose that VesCor had been sanctioned by the Utah Division of Securities on three separate occasions for violations, according to Murphy. 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, he said.

Moore is scheduled to be sentenced April 12. 

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