U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of California
(619) 557-5610
December 21, 2015

Hedge Fund Manager Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Multi-Million-Dollar Ponzi Scheme

SAN DIEGO—Paul Moore IV was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for defrauding local investors through his so-called hedge fund. Moore falsely told investors that he was an experienced financial professional and investment adviser, and that his “hedge fund” traded investors’ money in the stock market on their behalf. In reality, the supposed hedge fund did not invest in the stock market and Moore had no relevant education or experience, and was actually stealing most of the investors’ money in the course of running a Ponzi scheme.

According to court documents, Moore established Coast Capital Management LLC in 2009, when he began soliciting friends and acquaintances to invest in this “hedge fund.” Moore told investors that he had earned an undergraduate degree in economics from a respected state university, had worked as a senior analyst at a large national securities firm, had registered himself and his firm with securities regulators, and was making tremendous profits for his clients through his knowledge and expertise in securities trading. In truth, Moore quit college without earning any credits toward a degree, had never worked for the securities firm he touted, did not register himself or his fund with regulators, and when he did trade a small portion of the investor funds entrusted to him, he was losing money.

Moore ultimately stole most of his clients’ funds in the course of perpetrating a Ponzi scheme. Of the $2.8 million he “managed” for investors, Moore used $1.7 million of it for personal travel, shopping sprees, meals, entertainment, and other expenses.

During a sentencing hearing today, U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Bashant told the defendant, “People are out a lot of money while you were out living the high life.”

To keep the scheme going and to conceal his theft, Moore complied with certain investor’s redemption requests by paying them with funds deposited by other, usually more recent, investors. And when it came time to tell investors about his performance in the stock market, Moore added another deception—he created and distributed false account statements showing large volumes of highly profitable trades that he supposedly made on behalf of investors. The problem, of course, was that the trades never happened and Moore had concocted the account statements from whole cloth.

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy warned investors to perform their own due diligence before turning money over to an investment advisor, and to be wary of performance figures that seem too good to be true. The public can obtain additional information regarding Ponzi Schemes, and how to avoid them, on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website posts, at http://www.sec.gov/answers/ponzi.htm.

DEFENDANT

  • Paul Moore, IV
  • Age: 51
  • San Diego, CA
  • Criminal Case No. 15CR1829

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

  • Securities Fraud, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 78ff.
  • Maximum Penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment, $5,000,000 fine, $100 special assessment, restitution.

AGENCIES

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
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