Kelly Gearhart and James Miller receive another reprieve

January 17, 2014
Kelly Gearhart and James Miller

Kelly Gearhart and James Miller

By KAREN VELIE

For the fifth time, former North County developer Kelly Gearhart’s fraud trial and Hurst Financial president James Miller’s sentencing hearing have been delayed.

A federal judge continued Gearhart’s trial from Feb. 18 to June 17. Miller’s hearing has been continued from March 17 to Sept. 8.

“Failure to grant the requested continuance would result in a miscarriage of justice, would unreasonably deny defendant continuity of counsel, and would deny defense counsel the necessary time for effective preparation , taking into account the exercise for due diligence,” said United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II in his finding.

According to federal prosecutors, Gearhart and Miller defrauded investors who put money into Central Coast real estate projects. Gearhart allegedly siphoned off development funds for other purposes, including maintaining a lavish lifestyle.

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. It is likely that his testimony against Gearhart and others will result in a shortened prison sentence.

Because Miller’s sentencing hearing is to follow Gearhart’s criminal trial, each time Gearhart’s receives a continuance Miller is provided a reprieve from federal prison. Both men remain out of custody.

Gearhart was indicted on July 5, 2012. A month later, Gearhart plead 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.

Attorneys for Gearhart have noted a variety of reasons for the delays including the need to have more time to review financial documents, other court conflicts and the need for Gearhart’s public defender Kim Savo to be out of state due to an adoption. The current extension was granted in order to provide the defense attorneys time for preparation.

 


23 Comments

  1. Nancimeek says:

    June 17th? I’ll be there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

    • obispan says:

      Who are you? Charlie Brown? Lucy (Kim) will again yank the football away at the last second. Crime DOES pay, otherwise people wouldn’t do it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. Jorge Estrada says:

    Just as soon as the sufficient statute of limitation threashold is met, the case will move forward with a plea that will expose the now protected too. My guess……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  3. FineWine says:

    He’s not smart they are just incompetent. They don’t understand the crime either. I think if they thought they had a slam dunk case he would have been tried already and Miller would not have gotten his sweetheart deal. If they don’t have a slam dunk case it’s only due to incompetence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  4. FineWine says:

    I hope the feds have plenty of paper evidence because if they are depending on people to remember things that happened 6-10 years ago they may be in trouble. Can’t believe it is taking this long. I doubt that they could lead the feds to bigger fish. These guys were not smart enough to be a part of anything bigger. In fact gearhardt wasn’t smart enough to be a developer and miller wasn’t smart enough to be a lender and thats what got them in trouble. Along with a lack moral fortitude not to admit it was over and file BK before trying to save themselves by ripping people off. They should have surrounded themselves with lawyers and accountants not realtors and lenders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

    • Mr. Holly says:

      Not to endorse their actions but they have been smart enough to stay out of the court system and jail for several years now. Having talked to a representative from the DA’s office some time ago I was once told that Gearhart was possibly one of the smartest people that they had ever ran into and that is why there have been so many delays. The comment was made that they thought he knew every move that they were making and that he could stay ahead of them. But sooner I hope more than later it will all catch up to these two.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

      • SLOTECH90 says:

        Indeed. There are many sociopaths who are extremely bright and not infrequently never do any time, or minimal time. Several examples come to mind; Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Spiro Agnew, Adam Hill.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

    • obispan says:

      “Can’t believe it’s taking this long”? Well, believe it. And you can call Gearhart and Miller anything you want, except “not smart”. They were, and are, plenty smart. The dumb act is their defense argument.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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