HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Bigfork man that a federal judge once said was "dangerous to the money and property of others" is being investigated in a case alleging he defrauded 36 investors.
The state Securities Department alleges John "Kevin" Moore and his business, Big Sky Mineral Resources, sold $2.7 million in investments in oil leases without registering the securities with the state and without registering as a securities broker.
Lynne Egan, deputy securities commissioner, said four people complained they had made investments but received minimal or inaccurate information about Big Sky Mineral Resources, they did not receive a prospectus and that Moore did not respond to requests for information about the company's corporate governance, corporate taxation, operating agreements, leases, assets and liabilities.
Securities officials allege the leases don't exist and Moore was operating a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to make payments to earlier investors. Moore told The Associated Press on Thursday that that he has oil leases registered in Lewis and Clark County.
An affidavit filed with the District Court in Kalispell alleges Moore's bank accounts took in $2.7 million and made $886,000 in payments to investors, while nearly $800,000 in cash was withdrawn and hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on mortgages, vehicles and other personal expenses for Moore.
District Judge Robert Allison on Tuesday granted a temporary order restraining Moore from selling investments and disposing of any assets. He set a Sept. 30 hearing for Moore to argue why his assets shouldn't be frozen. No criminal charges have been filed.
The bank transactions list in the affidavit includes a $450,000 payment from Moore's accounts to Summit Oil. The Big Sky Mineral Resources website includes documents showing Summit West Oil transferred interest in about 60,000 acres of oil leases to Big Sky Mineral Resources in September 2014. Lewis and Clark County recorded the transfer in June 2015, according to the county website.
Moore's 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 prison 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. His probation was revoked and 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.
Moore referred further questions to his attorney, Shawn Hinchey of Kalispell. Hinchey did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.