L to R Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney with real estate fraud Casey Nelson, defendant Mark Melchiori, and defense attorney Joshua Lynn (July 05, 2016)

Paul Wellman

L to R Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney with real estate fraud Casey Nelson, defendant Mark Melchiori, and defense attorney Joshua Lynn (July 05, 2016)

Mark Melchiori Pleads Not Guilty to 47 Felonies

Former Construction Company President Denies Embezzlement, Fraud Charges

Dressed in a grey suit and thin-rimmed glasses, Mark Melchiori pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 47 felony charges including embezzlement, insurance and wage fraud, and diverting construction funds. The 49-year-old former head of Melchiori Construction spoke once to Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Michael Carrozzo to say he agreed to a preliminary hearing setting on September 6 before Judge Clifford Anderson.

Casey Nelson and Carl Barnes of the county District Attorney’s Office agreed to defense attorney Josh Lynn’s request to appear in court for Melchiori until “crucial moments” in the case. “[My] client lives distinctly out of county,” said Lynn. According to his location on Twitter, Melchiori was living in the San Francisco Bay area as of March 2015. He is currently employed as Executive Vice President of the Morgan Hill-based Corinthian Development Company. On its webpage, the company calls itself “a developer of premiere hospitality, retail, healthcare, and themed entertainment destinations.”

In court on Tuesday, Carrozzo granted prosecuting attorneys access to a sealed envelope with, he said, “what feels like a flash drive inside it” addressed to American Riviera Bank.

The May 30 complaint filed by the DA’s Office includes 15 charges alleging Melchiori diverted more than $350,000 in construction funds received from filmmaker Robert Zemeckis over six years. Melchiori, who faces three special allegations for the amount of money allegedly stolen, is also accused of violating the unemployment insurance code and committing, as well as conspiring to commit, grand theft.

After serving as president of Melchiori Construction after the death of his father, Ugo Melchiori, the company faced multiple lawsuits alleging it didn’t pay creditors or subcontractors on time. In 2012, Mark filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Albright Sounds the Alarm on Fascism

Former Secretary of State addresses U.S. political climate in Santa Barbara appearance.

Gas Company Asks Consumers to Conserve

Cold spell could stress natural gas heating infrastructure.

Highway 101 to Close Wednesday and Thursday

Removal of bridge supports at Olive Mill Road to divert traffic through Montecito.

Santa Barbara Surfer Chris Brown Dies

Body found just east of Hendry’s Beach.

Damaged Bridge Repairs Delayed

March, June, and July given as possible completion dates by Caltrans for six bridges along the 192 ...