Kelly Gearhart’s trial delayed again
February 3, 2013
For the second time, onetime Atascadero “Person of the Year” and prominent North County land developer Kelly Gearhart’s trial has been delayed.
Gearhart’s public defender, Kim Savo, requested the delay that has postponed the trial from Jan. 29 to June 11 for a variety of reasons including the need to have more time to review financial documents, recordings of a radio interviews from the Dave Congalton Show and phone recordings, according to court records.
In August, Gearhart pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering at a federal court in Los Angeles. He faces up to 300 years in federal prison if convicted on all charges.
Gearhart and the former president of Hurst Financial, James Miller, have been accused of helping to defraud more than 1,200 investors of more than $100 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme. Miller and Gearhart bilked investors who put money into Central Coast real estate projects and then siphoned off the monies for other purposes, including maintaining lavish lifestyles, federal authorities alleged.
In the summer of 2011, Miller agreed to plead guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering as part of a plea agreement the court then filed under seal.