In June, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s office filed a warrant for Al Moriarty’s arrest on eight felony charges, including securities fraud and scheming to defraud.
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Albert Moriarty could be best known to students as the donor who gave a $625,000 electronic scoreboard to Alex G. Spanos Stadium, sponsored by his former financial services company, Moriarty Enterprises. He is an alumnus, graduating in 1957, a Cal Poly donor and in the athletics Hall of Fame.
In June, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s office filed a warrant for his arrest on eight felony charges, including securities fraud and scheming to defraud. He was picked up by Washington police later that month from a property he owns and transported to San Luis Obispo County jail, where he has been for the past five months with a $5 million dollar bail.
Wednesday, in San Luis Obispo court, the 80-year-old Moriarty sat in his orange jumpsuit, chained around the waist and handcuffed.
The charges against Moriarty have to do with alleged securities fraud, in what is known as a Ponzi scheme. This kind of fraud involves falsely represented investment options, in which the newly generated money is used to make payments to earlier investors, not for legitimate investment activities.
Scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing, which is meant to set a date for trial, prosecutor and District Attorney Steven Van Dohlin, Judge Barry LaBarbara and Moriarty’s public appointed attorney Tom Allen, were shocked, along with the rest of the audience — whose seats were filled with his alleged victims — when a new attorney, Scott Whitenack, showed up to represent Moriarty.
According to reports from the New Times, Moriarty met Whitenack while they were both in jail.
Whitenack, who plead no contest to two misdemeanors, was released less than a week earlier, on October 11.
From there, things only got stranger, as Whitenack handed out a poem to audience members entitled, “S … L … O JUSTICE (Al Moriarty Story).” It proclaimed Moriarty’s innocence and attempted to shed light his new attorney change. It was written by another inmate friend of the two, Lowell Henslin.
“I WALKED INTO A PLACE WHERE DREAMS COME TO DIE
MADE OF CONCRETE AND STEAL WITH NO VIEW OF THE SKY
THESE MEN LOCKED INSIDE HERE FOR COMMITTING THEIR CRIME
BUT THAT’S NOT ALWAYS TRUE, NO NOT ALL OF THE TIME
SOMETIMES LADY JUSTICE JUST FALLS ON HER FACE,
AND AN INNOCENT MAN IS THROWN AWAY IN THIS PLACE
SO PLEASE LISTEN CLOSE AND I’LL TELL YOU A TALE
OF A KIND HEARTED MAN WHOSE ASS LANDED IN JAIL
LOCKED AWAY FROM SOCIETY, HIS LIFE PUT ON HOLD
BEHIND BARS PAINTED GREY IN A CELL OH SO COLD
YET THIS “GOD FEARING MAN” KEEPS HIS HEAD HELD UP HIGH
THEY’LL NEVER BREAK HIM NO MATTER HOW HARD THEY MIGHT TRY
HE’S BEEN PUNCHING THE DEMONS, HE’S GATHERING THE LIGHT
WITH AN AURA OF DIGNITY, HE’LL NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT
AT 80 YEARS OLD, HIS TIME SHOULD BE GOLDEN
WITH CANDLE LIT DINNERS AND HIS SOULMATE TO HOLDEN
HIS ESSENCE OF NATURE IS THE “AMERICAN DREAM”
ALL TAKEN AWAY TORN APART AT THE SEAM
HE’LL REGALE US OF STORIES OF PLAY ON THE FIELD
HIS LOVE FOR CAL POLY AND HIS COURAGE IS HIS SHIELD
HE EXUDES SELF-CONFIDENCE THAT’S ALIEN UNTO THIS PLACE
WHILE HIS LAWYERS HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT SEEN THEIR TAILS
AND GIVE CHASE … J. NOBLE DAGGIT IS THE LAWYER HE SHOULD GET
FOR THAT’S WHAT HE NEEDS, A “LAWYER WITH TRUE GRIT”
WE’VE BECOME QUITE CLOSE THIS MAN IS MY PAL
HIS NAME IS “MORIARTY,” BUT TO ME HE’S JUST AL …”
While handing out the poem, Whitenack said, in light humor, “It’s pretty good. I guess he found his talent in jail.”
To LaBarbara, Whitenack claimed that Moriarty had not received proper representation in prior council and court meetings.
“We have a right to have character witnesses, and for today, character witnesses are present,” he said.
Whitenack also requested Morarity’s bail amount be reduced, based on a lack of foundation in the investigative process conducted up to that point, as well as a change in circumstances relating to Moriarty’s treatment while in prison and his old age.
“His wife is living alone, at 80-years-old, with a heart condition,” Whitenack said.
But VanDohlin, along with Moriarty’s previous attorney, objected to the claim that there had been any changes in circumstances since the original bail amount was set back in June. They said the specific witnesses — and the amount of losses by alleged victims — had never been previously given to either attorney during the discovery process.
The new pre-preliminary hearing is set for next Thursday at 10 a.m., and his trial will begin on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the poem referenced was written by Lowell Henslin, not Richard Granger.