KALISPELL, Mont. — A judge has continued his order to freeze the bank accounts of a Bigfork businessman suspected of securities fraud.
Deputy Securities Commissioner Lynne Egan testified during a show-cause hearing on Tuesday that John “Kevin” Moore collected $2.7 million from 36 investors and made payments to earlier investors with funds from later investors. Records suggest he spent about $1.4 million himself, including withdrawing nearly $800,000 in cash and spending more than $400,000 on mortgage and escrow payments for two homes in Bigfork.
Janet Walters of Lakeside testified that she invested $83,500 with Moore, who gave her three gold coins and a small amount of cash for interest payments, but that she never recovered her initial investments.
Testimony also indicated that $78,000 that Moore purportedly raised for a wounded warrior program was withdrawn from a bank account soon after it was deposited, with no accounting of what happened to it.
Attorney Shawn Hinchey argued that continuing to freeze the accounts could jeopardize a possible sale of oil and gas leases that could help Moore repay the people who invested in Big Sky Mineral Resources, the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/2dyjTLK) reported.
Court and county records indicate BSMR bought the oil and gas leases in Lewis and Clark County for $450,000 in August 2014, when oil prices were double the current rate.
District Judge Robert Allison continued the freeze on Moore’s accounts and encouraged the state auditor’s office to work with Moore and Hinchey to “make sure investors are paid off, and some future investor isn’t ripped off” with the sale.
No criminal charges have been filed in the current case.
Moore’s criminal record includes a May 2003 guilty plea to federal mail fraud charges for portraying himself as a licensed outfitter in mailing materials to potential clients. He was sentenced to the six months he had already served in custody and put on probation for three years. However he violated the terms of his probation, including passing $500,000 through two bank accounts and taking out a $29,000 loan without notifying his probation officer. U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell sentenced him to 12 months in prison.
“The court finds that the defendant is dangerous to the money and property of others and that protection of the public requires,” that his probation be revoked, Lovell wrote.
Court records said Moore had previous convictions for defrauding a person of $75,000 in a “gold coin scheme,” defrauding someone else in the sale of a painting and for writing bad checks.
Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com