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Former Livermore chamber president gets 17 years for Ponzi scheme

 

A Livermore accountant and civic leader has been sentenced to 17 years in state prison for embezzling $2.7 million from 20 victims in a Ponzi scheme, including seven elderly people whose retirement nest eggs were wiped out.

Maynard Weldon Moreland, 50, a former president of the Livermore Chamber of Commerce and a elected city treasurer, pleaded no contest to 34 felony counts Feb. 19 following a massive fraud and embezzlement prosecution, including 21 counts of grand theft, 12 counts of financial elder abuse and one count of engaging in a pattern of theft conduct.

Moreland admitted responsibility in an apology letter to his victims, which was read at his sentencing hearing in front of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy on Wednesday.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Bill Denny said Moreland admitted responsibility for defrauding his clients who trusted him with making investments on their behalf in real estate ventures during the past 20 years.

Several victims lost more than $400,000 each, he said.

Denny said the fraud began in 1993 and was discovered in April 2009 when he stopped making interest payments to investors.

The prosecutor said Moreland operated his scheme by soliciting his victims to invest in local and out-of-state real estate development projects, but he didn't invest their money as promised.

Instead, according to Denny, Moreland embezzled all of the fund for his own enrichment. Some of the victims took out second loans on their homes to finance the investments that Moreland promoted. Moreland paid clients monthly interest payments to maintain their trust.

Denny said Moreland donated some of the embezzled money to charitable groups because "he fancied himself to be a community leader."

He said Moreland also used the money to pay for large gambling and credit card debts.

Denny said the charitable groups that received money from Moreland won't be forced to return them because they weren't aware the money was tainted.

The Ponzi investment scheme was investigated by the Livermore Police Department and the investigation is ongoing regarding the recovery of assets.

The district attorney's office has recovered about $417,000 so far through search warrants and court orders.

The money will be distributed to victims on a proportionate basis at a court hearing June 25.

Anyone with information about the case or about recovering the money can call the district attorney's office at (510) 569-9281.

Moreland's attorney, Jack Noonan, couldn't be reached for comment today.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Reflects poorly on the Chamber of Commerce
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

How could the Chamber have selected such a person as President, and the city as Treasurer? Wonder what their finances look like?


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I suspected that he was a crook! I am waaaaaaaaaaaay tickled that he has been BUSTED!

17 years will just fly by...NOT!

Advice: don't drop the soap in the shower.


Like this comment
Posted by Family Friend
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Before you rush to condemn Moreland further, please note that the amount that the courts found he embezzled was invested principle. It was the amount those clients directly invested. What did not come out publicly, probably because he pleaded no contest, was that those same investors received monthly interest payments over the years that in some cases far exceeded their initial investments.

What he did was unmistakably wrong, but no where near as wrong as published reports are making it out to be.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm

APOLOGIST ALERT! APOLOGIST ALERT!


Like this comment
Posted by Where's Bernie?
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 2, 2010 at 12:07 am

Anyone who has heard of Bernie Madoff and those who invested their money with him cannot be surpirsed by the misfortunes of the(likewise) victims of M. Weldon Moreland. He was involved in every local service club, and somehow more of the members of these clubs were not fleeced by this unassuming crook. What a travesty; I knew the guy fairly well, and to this day cannot fathom what led him to his misdeeds.


1 person likes this
Posted by Vines
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

To Family Friend - Please do not try to downplay or suggest that anything Weldon did was "OK" and "Not as bad as it seems". You are insulting yourself and every reader and local resident. He stole money that was not his to live his lavish lifestyle.
He got what he deserved - although he should have to work in jail to pay off every penny as well as the prosecution costs.
After all, your tax dollars were used to prosecute him. Thats a warm and fuzzy thought huh?


1 person likes this
Posted by a thief is a thief
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

So Family Friend, if he paid them back with STOLEN money he is less of a thief than if he never paid them back at all? What school of logic did you go to? He is a dirty rotten thief, simple. He deserves to suffer the consequences for it and I hope that those consequences are great.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Relentless greed sucks another cohort group down the drain and dumps it into the sewer of social and financial ruin.




Like this comment
Posted by My 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

That is the problem with some people getting too involved in a community.

The Otts for instance (they have done nothing wrong) have the guy on the school board and the wife working for the city of Pleasanton economic development, the guy even has some sort of book thing on the local trivalley channel.... something like this gives these two too much influence over a community. Even though these are honest people, the opportunity for mischief is there.

The chamber of commerce should have been more careful, but the city of Livermore overall should not have allowed one person to become too powerful and with the ability to influence so many.

Pleasanton and Livermore are small towns, with small town mentality, too trusting and perhaps both of them should learn from this ponzi fiasco and not allow people to become too powerful.


Like this comment
Posted by My 2 cents - to clarify
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm

"Pleasanton and Livermore are small towns, with small town mentality, too trusting and perhaps both of them should learn from this ponzi fiasco and not allow people to become too powerful."

By this I mean not to facilitate it: do not employ, give awards, etc to people just because. And definitely look into deals where family members are giving each other jobs financed by taxpayers and things like that.


Like this comment
Posted by Another Family Friend
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I'm shocked and saddened. He gave me my first real job 16 years ago before I became a full time student (back when his firm was still tiny). My heart goes out to his family. This can't be easy on them. I grew up in Livermore. We have old, trusted families because there's reason to trust them. They've been there and many people know them or grew up with them and their family has a history of philanthropy to the community. That's why we are so shocked when something like this happens.


Like this comment
Posted by o. schneider
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Mar 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

The judge threw the book at him. When we were ask to invest, my wife said "no". Lesson: If you and your wife argue over investments or money, give the whole cash management to her. Us men are always suckers for a make money quick scheme.


Like this comment
Posted by A cousin of Weldon
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Make no mistake. The men in our family can be described as a continual criminal enterprise. I myself was raised with the same system of ideas as Weldon. We were all told that money is the end all say all to happiness, contentment and respect. One of Weldon's uncles once pulled out a wad of cash from his sock and explained to me, a child, that this was the measure of a man.
Understanding someones perceptions allows us to see that their decisions and actions make perfect sense.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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