Kelly Gearhart and James Miller receive another reprieve

January 17, 2014
Kelly Gearhart and James Miller

Kelly Gearhart and James Miller


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.



  1. achillesheal says:

    Terrible irony that his high priced lawyers are also being paid for with his victim’s money.

    (33) 33 Total Votes - 33 up - 0 down
  2. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    I’m sure like others, when I opened the CCN website and saw the headline, I started spewing expletives at the computer. Got worse once I read the article.

    Oh the poor little bastards didn’t have enough time to review? Let us review. The man left the State in Oct 2008 under suspicion. Then he was put under indictment three +years ago. So we are into this just short of SIX YEARS by the time IF and I say IF it goes to court this summer.

    I am so PISSED off at the two of them and their lawyers Ital. I hope they all ROT IN HELL!!!!

    (40) 46 Total Votes - 43 up - 3 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      On another note it came back to me about three years back that he lurks here and threatened that I better watch what I post. Well unless he brings a knife or gun to my house I don’t give a sh*t. We’ll see who has more pent up hostility for who.

      (26) 36 Total Votes - 31 up - 5 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Bet the down arrow is Kelly or Jay. ;-)

      (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  3. Mr. Holly says:

    The only good that I see with this is that it will be closer to election time. I bet there is someone up for re-election in Atascadero who might be getting a little nervous. There is obviously a whole lot going on behind the scenes. Should be interesting to see who the real players have been.

    (21) 29 Total Votes - 25 up - 4 down
    • No_More_Anger says:

      You got names? Why wimp out and say “someone”? You feel that way then state their name, Mr. Holly

      (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
      • Mr. Holly says:

        Just look who is running for election in Atown. Pretty easy to figure it out. The other guy went to Indian Wells.

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  4. bobfromsanluis says:

    I have to wonder how many people who were criminally defrauded by Gearhart will pass away from old age before Kelly actually has to “face the music”; this latest delay seems to be saying to those who lost money due to the criminal behavior conducted here don’t really seem to matter. Sad.

    (40) 48 Total Votes - 44 up - 4 down
    • r0y says:

      Isn’t that our legal system in a nutshell now? I mean look at how the entitled folks simply get away with murder because no one has an attention span longer than 15 seconds. I could bring up all of our national leaders’ failures (Benghazi, NSA, IRS, Fast & Furious, FedReserve gold scandal/re-hypothecation, etc), but those are all old news and no one cares.

      Hey, wasn’t that what might be happening with Gearheart and any other crook who’s main defense is to “outlast the story?”

      (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
      • bobfromsanluis says:

        r0y: Careful there, Supervisor Hill has your number, remember? (Benghazi, NSA, IRS, Fast & Furious, FedReserve gold scandal/re-hypothecation, etc) You just might be some sort of “conspiracy nut” …

        I am a little surprised that in your mention of our legal system and how the entitled folks simply get away with murder, and not mention the ability of the Beenie Baby billionaire Ty Warner being able to plead guilty to tax evasion and receive a two year sentence of two years probation and 500 hours of “community service”. The ultra rich honestly do get to play by an entirely different set of rules than the rest of us.

        (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  5. justchuck says:

    Justice is blind. Maybe hard of hearing as well.

    (27) 31 Total Votes - 29 up - 2 down
  6. IronMan says:

    What a surprise? James Miller always touted what a brilliant scholar he was at Cal Poly SLO – he road the wave big for years ripping people off blindly and is now able to repeatedly delay justice.

    (30) 36 Total Votes - 33 up - 3 down
  7. LameCommenter says:

    “Justice delayed, is justice denied”.

    Even with the depth and complexity of the frauds, there has been plenty of time for defense preparation.

    (49) 53 Total Votes - 51 up - 2 down
  8. Pelican1 says:

    Money talks…bull$#@&% walks. This proves crime pays.

    (35) 41 Total Votes - 38 up - 3 down
  9. jrstone says:

    When you can afford equal access to the law you get all the benefits, if not…BUPKIS!

    Just Sayin”….

    (24) 32 Total Votes - 28 up - 4 down

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