Al Moriarty, Grover Beach financier, pleads not guilty in fraud case

acornejo@thetribunenews.comMay 29, 2013 

Albert Stephen Moriarty, 80, of Grover Beach was arrested Sunday, May 5, 2013, on suspicion of securities fraud. Original story »

Troubled financier Al Moriarty pleaded not guilty to seven felonies involving fraud and embezzlement in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after he was arrested.

Eighty-year-old Moriarty’s attorney, Tom Allen, also asked Wednesday that a hearing be set to reduce his bail. That request will be heard by the court on June 12.

Moriarty remains in San Luis Obispo County Jail with bail set at $5 million.

Allen said he did not know what bail amount he would request, but “something manageable for Moriarty.”

The District Attorney’s Office requested that Moriarty not be allowed to use any money to post bail that could be tied to any investments involved in the prosecution.

The requested bail amount could range from $500,000 to $1 million, Allen said.

Typically bail payment is 10 percent of the bond set.

Moriarty, of Moriarty Enterprises in Grover Beach, is charged with seven felonies: fraudulently offering or selling securities; three counts of selling securities with false statements or omissions such as telling investors their money would be secured by gold, real estate and his own life insurance policy; grand theft by embezzlement of investor funds; and two counts of acting as an investment adviser and offering or selling securities without the required licenses.

In addition, two enhancements were included for an aggravated white-collar crime and excessive taking of more than $3.2 million.

Moriarty was arrested May 5 at his home in Bremerton, Wash. An investigation by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office and California Department of Corporations, with assistance from the FBI and the California Department of Insurance, led to San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera issuing the arrest warrant May 3.

Moriarty, a longtime Central Coast resident and Cal Poly alumnus, faces 19 separate civil lawsuits filed against him in San Luis Obispo Superior Court over unpaid payments on promissory notes.

The claims, which vary in amount, allege fraud, elder abuse and breach of contract by not repaying loans as promised and a lack of required security licenses needed to make investments. One lawsuit alleges that Moriarty was running a Ponzi scheme "designed to defraud community members out of their retirement and other savings."

In January, Moriarty filed for bankruptcy, owing more than $22 million to creditors and dozens of San Luis Obispo County residents who loaned him money.

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