Pasolivo: The olive ranch the investors built

October 25, 2009

Editor’s note: This is Part One in a series examining how Pasolivo olive ranch was funded and how today it is being managed by Joeli Yaguda under the direction of the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s office.


A Paso Robles investment company funded the construction of an area olive ranch and an accompanying private residence by having the contractors change the address so it would be illegally covered by investments in Estate Financial Inc. (EFI), according to one of the contractors who did the work.

Charlie Applebaum, the ex-husband and former business partner of EFI president Karen Guth, is accused of asking sub-contractors to bill an estimated $1-million in construction costs of the Pasolivo Olive ranch and his former residence to projects funded by EFI.

Kevin Fuson, the ex-contractor who worked on the olive ranch project, said he was working for EFI building spec homes in Paso Robles when Applebaum hired him to frame and do concrete work at the Pasolivo Olive Ranch and the home. Applebaum asked Fuson to change the work addresses so the work would be charged off as construction done on homes EFI was financing in Wellsona Acres on the north side of Paso Robles, Fuson said.

The ranch and former Guth Applebaum residence are located west of town, in the Paso Robles wine region.

“Charlie told me to come see him before I made out the invoices,” Fuson said. “The money for Pasolivo came from Estate Financial properties.”

Utilizing a number of hard-money lending strategies, EFI principals enticed more than 3,000 investors to place more than $300 million into EFI construction projects. Guth and Joshua Yaguda, through investment contracts and marketing pamphlets, assured investors their monies would be used for the projects they invested in.

However, for years, numerous sources have alleged that Guth, Applebaum, and Guth’s son, Joshua Yaguda, used funds slated for project construction to pay for outside business interests they operated while at the helm of EFI. Joshua Yaguda’s wife, Joeli Yaguda, is currently managing the ranch at the direction of the district attorney’s office.

“That man (Applebaum) is a crook,” Fuson said. “He started the whole ball rolling.”

EFI principals Guth and Joshua Yaguda plead guilty earlier this month to 26 felony counts for fraudulently selling securities and running a Ponzi scheme. Applebaum and Guth purchased the Paso Robles lending company in 1994 and divorced in 2004. Applebaum currently lives in Washington state

After an investor informed the district attorney’s office of the alleged phony invoices, San Luis Obispo Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve von Dohlen left a message on Fuson’s answering machine asking for more information. Fuson said he returned the call in July, but didn’t hear back.

“I don’t know if he ever called me back,” Von Dohlen said.

“Any allegations of fraud will be looked at. We are continuing to investigate,” Von Dohlen said when asked if the investigation into misdeeds by EFI would end with the sentencing of Guth and Joshua Yaguda.

Guth and Joshua Yaguda are scheduled for sentencing Dec. 7 at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse.


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Member Opinions:

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/5/09


Yea that is the problem with the old saying, “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Sooner or later you’re going to have to pay back Peter. :-)

By: Pas0Girl on 11/4/09

All players were motivated by greed and the notion they were not doing anything “wrong.” I am sure they thought they would “pay back” EFI for the remodels and Pasolivo improvements. They just didn’t know the market would turn so bad so fast.

By: cheseburger on 11/4/09

“That man (Applebaum) is a crook,” Fuson said. “He started the whole ball rolling.” Remember the old point the finger there are three pointing back at you, yeah he may have contacted the D.A. after he knew they had been tipped off by investors, to little ,to late.

To Al, we should pick his pockets and take his pants too.

By: Michelle on 10/29/09

Has anyone considered that it was Fuson who contacted the DA? Who else knew? Applebaum sure didn’t come clean.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/29/09

My Karma is fine thanks. I haven’t done anything wrong. Have you??

By: insider on 10/29/09

Cheseburger understands exactly. At least someone in this blog has some sense of morals. As to BTDT and Cindy maybe Karma has come to get you.

By: cheseburger on 10/29/09

Btdt the new article is out and I do make mistakes, but if Fuson went along with changing the addresses, on contract work he performed, this is accessory to fraud aiding and abetting, I don’t care if he made a dime it’s still wrong to mislead others in any way shape or form for your own profit or others profit. “after an investor informed the D.A. of the alleged phony invoices,” is when Fuson came forward, correct? Maybe he was just stupid, but like so many contractors, they will do anything to make more$$$$$$$$. He should of reported it to the D.A. at the beginning not the end.

By: Cindy on 10/29/09

insider – Mr. Fuson, unlike Applebaum and Guth, is not guilty of cheating on his taxes that I know of. I am very pleased and want to acknowledge Mr. Fuson as a good and honest citizen. He “figured out” that a wrong was done and he “stepped up” and made it right.

By: insider on 10/29/09

I said cheating. Please re read my comment. I said it is everyones duty to legally reduce their taxes.

By: Cindy on 10/29/09


and Thanks……..

By: George on 10/28/09

Some spoof names are a violation of our CalCoastNews Constitution. I hearby Impeach the user name Obama. the user is encouraged to re-register using a different moniker.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/28/09

Another vehicle that can save you money at the VERY end of the year to pay less taxes is a Sep IRA. Again many ways to file. You don’t know somebodys intentions when they ask you to address a project address to something else.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/28/09

Another point on the great tax debate. When you incorporate you can save money on taxes v.s. being a sole propritor. So I guess this is against the law? There are ways in doing and filing taxes in certain ways, that can save you some money in the way you file. Ask your tax man.

So again is a contractor or business man or in this case Mr. Fuson, suppose to interigate each and every clint as to there intentions on there tax status????

I love that EFI has made off with MULTI millions and a few people are wanting to bash a man, that made NOTHING on this!! This is absolute idiocy.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/28/09

Oh and by the way I have lost money on this also, so I don’t have anything to gain by protecting somebody.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/28/09

Some people should learn how to read and interpet. Never said it was o.k. to cheat one way or the other on taxes. I stated that people do it and I bet everybody here knows at least one person in their lifetime that has got some kind of break for themselves.

I have never meet to many Mother Threasa’s in my life. Most everybody has done a little something wrong and if you believe this rises to the level of aiding and abiding your in a cloud.

By: insider on 10/28/09

I will avoid calling out individuals however it is apparent that several of the bloggers here think its just a little indiscretion to cheat on your taxes. All the guy is trying to do is save a little money on his taxes. Those of you who think that way create the atmosphere for the CA’s and KG’s of the world to take the next step. Don’t get me wrong it is your duty to legally take the appropriate steps to make sure you pay the minimum taxes allowable by law. However as soon as you think small cheats are OK your part of the problem.

By: SLOconcern on 10/28/09

Did I read that Fuson actually made changes on those invoices or did CA just ask, as millions of others have for whatever reason. Time will tell. The whole thing is a mess and so many others have been brought up in a messy web of deceit. Shame on all of them.

By: Cindy on 10/28/09

I agree that Fuson did the right thing by coming forward. He finally realized that his little favor to Charlie was about a lot more than cheating on a project to overstate expenses for a tax write off. Contractors just want to get the job, perform the work and get paid. If they are instructed to write down a different address than where they performed the work, they figure it’s none of their business. It happens all the time. Bravo to Fuson for coming forward.

By: Scarlet on 10/28/09

I agree with BeenThereDoneThat about Fuson. How could he possibly have known the implications? If he were that closely aligned with Applebaum, he wouldn’t be coming forward now. I say bravo to him for having the courage to go on the record.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/28/09

I agree on the beatings, except why Fuson? I don’t see where he benefited at all. His only possible crime MIGHT have been addressing work to another project. I don’t see that as benifiting from this.

I don’t think he had any intention of anything. I think he thought he was just helping Charlie save on some taxes by posting different. It doesn’t say he does get off paying all taxes, just gets a break on some. Comon you know lots of business and people do this and your fooling yourself if you think not.

I don’t see where that would have been any flag to Fuson that something was amis. Put yourself in the same position at the time (not monday morning quarterbacking) and I think you would see the same.

By: cheseburger on 10/28/09

Obama ,I did some checking and my savor at bully camp was Chuck Applegarth, not the man in question my take, Chalie needs a check up from the neck up, and if he’s dirty, he needs to be tor up from the floor up, and beat up from the feet up, by the district attorney or the FBI of course. Fuson too of course

By: cheseburger on 10/28/09

Mo thank you, do I have to go to Santa Babara BK court or can I file it here since the BK was voluntary and Paccay seems to have a say in it still? I don’t think I can and the expense of traveling will just about break me, I have their number, but I don’t really want to seem stupid and try to ask the court (Judge Rublit) what to do. I apologized to Josserand in person and his demeanor was smooth as silk and he is sending me my document. My position is I’m not 90 yet and I am not going to ran over by anybody! I made a mistake and owned up to it. I am sincerely glad Josserrand made a recovery for you mo.

By: Jim on 10/28/09

Investorrat: Thank you for answering my question.

By: investorrat on 10/28/09

This is answer too JIMS ? about Jolie running the olive ranch! The judge felt 2 preserve the assets until findings of guilt

and fraud proven,Jolie and the kids didn’t commit the fraud they just happened 2 be bystanders. Was she truly aware of what was going on?If she had no knowledge that it was going on that an even bigger scam.

By: investorrat on 10/28/09

Ok people have you heard of a remodel?The house Charlie and Karen lived in on the ranch as well as the tasting room was paid for in this fraudgelent manner,The building

permits listed with the county will confirm

who the permit was issued and the dates!!

If you still dont believe the timeline or that Charlie is the one who got the ball rolling look at moral compass he exudes the wellsona acres project was property the secretary of EFI inherited and Charlie developed.This is also the woman he had an affair with HMMMM and now lives with.The divorce with Karen buying him out of EFI was a nice payout also>> Damm i’m getting the movie rites 2 this.

By: Cindy on 10/28/09

mo – Your post reads like an advertisement. In fact, didn’t you used to purchase advertising here?

By: mo on 10/27/09


The Motion for relieve from automatic stay is available on the Court’s web site, it is a simple document. Over the past two years of dealing with this hard money melt down is hard finding people to help. Ron Berry of the PRG is abrasive, blount and may be insensitive, however this prick has recovered over 60 percent of my money back and I am glad he and his partner is on my team. I am after results not rumors.

By: cheseburger on 10/27/09

Jim I think so too, Suzie Q just made me cry, I think this maybe on subject, I just bought a little trailer from an EFI victim turns out he filed and won a judgment in Paso court, I had him call Maryann Smith with the department of corporations, she walked him through the forms required by the department of Real Estate Fraud recovery fund application, online, he did this case in small claims and didn’t know about the program. A little is better than nothing the man told me, I think he’s right! Anybody want the number?

By: Jim on 10/27/09

Having full knowledge of both her mother-in-law and her husband running this ponzi scheme, can anyone tell me why Joeli Yaguda is currently managing the ranch at the direction of the district attorney’s office? Seems to me that she should have gone on trial as well.

By: insider on 10/27/09

Obama. Unless they had a Applebaum impersonator he was still making deals for Estate in late 2003 and I think 2004. That doesn’t sound like 10 years to me. Check your facts.

By: Newsome on 10/27/09

Obama — I am pleased you modified your name so as not to offend any of your statesmen from Alabama.

To the issue at hand: I, too, smell someone trying to implicate Applebaum, perhaps unjustly.

My guess is that it is Karen’s camp, trying to divert attention from themselves. Or it is the investors, looking for the next ox to gore having realized that Karen’s money is too far hid.

By: Cindy on 10/27/09

Well GeIZZZZ Obaha, I’ll tell you what. This story states the following: “Editor’s note: This is Part One in a series examining how Pasolivo olive ranch was funded and how today it is being managed by Joeli Yaguda ”

My bet is on KREAN VEILE who has been batting 100%. Are you for some reason scared dude?

By: cheseburger on 10/27/09

Cindy you are so right and this Obama, I endorse this comment. He is just a troll trying to egg us on, we are all against misrepresentation except him I guess, unless he really is the president or just thinks he is. Troll! Thanks for understanding the PRG deal, you wrote it better then I could of and I wanted to explain, good post!

I endorse this comment because I am a troll too.

By: Cindy on 10/27/09

Cheseburger – I understand. I know it all gets so confusing when we get “ripped off” like you did. It’s great that you understand this little “piece” of this puzzle. It’s not right that you had to make such a “big noise” to get someones attention. You should have been kept “in the know” by PRG all along. I consider PRG to be very insensitive “overseers” to have taken you to the “reasonable deductive posturing ” that you initially expressed . Shame on PRG.

It’s equally good know/believe that, not everyone is out to get us, thank God.

By: Cindy on 10/27/09

Obama – “You know, I resent people objecting to my name. It’s my right. So, lay off sister. Nobody has answered by original question. Wasn’t CA far down the road before Pasolivo even came into existence? Something’s wrong with the time line.”

Well first Obama, This isn’t about when Pasolivo took its name or hung up a shield. Its about when the corner stones were laid for what is now Pasolivo and also when the Guth/Applebaum home was built.

Second you say – “I endorse this comment. ”

What a joke …

By: cheseburger on 10/27/09

Mo, Your right PGR is not in bed with the crooks, I apologize to Ron Berry and Peter Josserrand, for completely unfounded allegations, I have been corrected by numerous people with direct knowledge of the events of the involuntary bankruptcy. Josserrand himself called me and will be mailing the document I requested and I believe that he did not intentionally deceive me, I am just a crazy troll and jumped in on a rumor, all I have to do now is go to Santa Barbara BK court and file a Motion for Relief from Stay, woopy!

I guess Miller burned Josserrand a long time ago and he want’s to see his head roll too.

By: insider on 10/27/09

It appears the best and most successful defense strategy in this county is to “Get Out of Dodge” and the quicker the better. Just ask L.K., C.A., K.G. and many others who hit the road. What attempt at justice has come their way?

By: mo on 10/27/09


I understand your frustrations however your facts are incorrect. The involuntary bankruptcy petetion you signed was very good stategy. All of Hursts assets were immediatly frozen, preserving whats left. The Federal Court Trustee asked Mr. josserand to keep the involuntary petition alive until he could review Hurst’s Voluntary petetion. The difference is the look back period in the involuntary is three years while the look back period for the voluntary is one year. The Trustee, not Josserand made the call on what petetion to proceed with after reviewing all of Hurst’s assets.

By: knowthisatascadero on 10/27/09

Cheseburger: PRG uses everyone, it is all about them and how much money they can extort from the investors while promising to “recover” the investors money. There is no money left at Hurst, EFI or any of the others. They have and are preying on the investor who is desperate to get some money back.

I hear Joserand is BK and Berry probably is also. Berry has a judgment against him from Heritage Oaks Bank for defaulting on a business loan, about $200,000. You think he is not desperate?

Seems that Latrell (not positive) is one of two of the investors out of 16 that got paid off on the property where Tasty Freeze is. 16 investors – 2 were paid off – 14 left with a phony deeds. Seems to me that if that is correct the other 14 would have grounds to come back on Latrell for their share of the proceeds. Cuesta Title will pay heavily for their involvement. You probably have a better chance of getting money from CT than anyone else. Good luck.

PRG = vultures

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/27/09


Yea it still SUCKS at the end of the day that our courts are more concerned about proper form then the people that were had.

Where was the law and concern when everybody was getting hosed??

If there is justice or Karma, then I figure a metorite about the size of a Volkswagen is heading for Millers A**HOLE!! Now that would be one hell of an enima.

By: Cindy on 10/27/09

BTDT is right, the article says : “Three Hurst Financial investors had placed Miller into involuntary bankruptcy but the process was stalled when Benice told Superior Court Judge Roger Picquet that Miller and his daughter Courtney Brard were planning to voluntarily file on their own behalf.

If they had not filed by Thursday, Picquet had ordered they appear in court to explain their intentions.”

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/27/09


Here is a link to Trib article Aug. 18 2009

I can see were this would be frustrating but they may have had no choice. It states that the judge ordered the delay and after it is put in place the bankruptcy takes precedence over all other standing judgements (i.e. involuntary bankruptcy).

By: Incognito on 10/26/09

Hey Kiler, Ask any investor that had anything to do with Darla Hansen (Funding Coordinator) and they will tell you she was (is) as crooked as Guth and Yaguda. She cost us an incredible amount of money! The only reason that she has not been charged, is that the D.A. wanted her testimony against the other two.

By: Rewind on 10/26/09

‘as far as the guy in the white house, we gave him the ball, now let’s let him run with it.’

More like dropped the ball.

By: edgar-poe on 10/26/09

HD – If you wish to not be offended, wouldn’t it be easier to not offend. Not a fan of Bush, but some are.

To the point, I am not sure how some houses built in the mid to late 1990’s can be tied to the individual loans or fund that were later. I am assuming if those investors were not paid in full we may have heard something. Other than that, this may have just been the seeds.

By: Kiler on 10/26/09

With respect to the stashed money the dynamic duo squirreled away I’d like to add something which I don’t see mentioned in this sorry affair. I believe the spotlight should also be directed to some of the former employees of EFI. It is utterly inconceivable they would not see or hear things in the course of their stay there. Some of them were perhaps tuned in to the deceptions and could provide helpful clues.

By: cheseburger on 10/26/09

Obama, Chesebuger and Hotdog don’t trash anybody’s name, hell I even spelled it french as to not offend real cheeseburgers. Your my friend, but your handle is tacky, as far as the guy in the white house, we gave him the ball, now let’s let him run with it.

By: hotdog on 10/26/09

Since I am a big fan of the real man who replaced that idiotic crook in the White House I take some offense to someone using that moniker. I would ask ‘Obama’ to use a different handle. If I knew your real name and used it here to blog how would you like that?

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/26/09

Wow!! I stated that he was in way over his head. Meaning he can’t handle what he is doing. Just using a different manner of saying he is incompetent. I.e. he doesn’t have the experence to handle something this BIG. He has never dealt with something like this as one, let alone MANY cases going on now. That was my point. I am not making excuses for him, I’m stating WHY I am making point for why I think he isn’t getting it done.

I have read articles that this is problem all over the country where this has been exposed in the downturn, in that a lot of the D.A.s are so overwhemled as to WHAT laws have been broken, because there are probably many but these D.A.s aren’t versed in the laws of realestate!! HENCE in over their heads!

By: Scarlet on 10/26/09

Hey “Obama” – Karen has been writing about these crooks for over a year and a half. Please see her previous stories, which reference this type of activity and the multitude of involved parties she’s in contact with. Now she has a contractor willing to put his name out there. Keep digging, Karen. Your stories allow us to watch the puzzle being put together. (Though it would be helpful if the DA’s office would stop hiding the pieces.)

By: beth on 10/26/09

This is part 1? Can’t wait for the rest of the story.

Hope we get a heads-up before Karen goes on Congalton to discuss.

By: dhgscw on 10/26/09

This story and the likes of the other hard money lenders, contractors and developers who have perpetrated their swindle, fraud and corruption on unsuspecting investors is a much bigger problem than what house a city council member may have slept in. In cases like this story, peoples lives have been ruined financially from which some will never recover.

By: Newsome on 10/26/09

I am convinced that Pasolivo was only marginally profitable in its very best year.

Running it at a loss made sense when Karen/Josh had income to shelter.

Where is the money coming from to run it at a loss these days. Answer that, and you will have come closer to finding the remains of the investors’ funds.

By: hotdog on 10/26/09

Right on AA101. The gummint response to all this fraud is yet another crime perpetrated against the victims. And if they let these two chief crooks off with light sentences it will be a slap in the face of those who now bleed. Madoff got a nice long sentence, why not EFI and hopefully (but when???) the crooks at Hurst too.

By: AA101 on 10/26/09

They have money stashed. Nothing adds up and there is too much money missing. Unfortunately our DA Shea isn’t up to the task of finding it. He is accustomed to the simple life, like prosecuting old woman for stealing a bottle of ketchup from a table in a restaurant. What an idiot Shea is. We all need an outside investigator or help or the FBI to find where they hid all of our money. Gone to interest payments, my ass, do the math.

By: PaulJones on 10/26/09

No doubt massive fraud was committed on many if not all the projects. Karen Guth had formed partnerships with various contractors and then hired them to perform construction duties. A $1,000,000 mark up on a project!! It would be interesting to know how the investors came out on that. Did they receive their interest payments and what percentage of the initial capital was returned? What was the deal at the time, where they all in it for a collective profit or interest only?

By: insider on 10/26/09

Conspiracy to commit fraud. Where all good witnesses come from.

By: Laura on 10/26/09

Heads will be rolling down the stairs of the white house again when cheeseburger reads this story.

By: Cindy on 10/26/09

If I recall there was some contention about including Pasolivo in the EFI assets as it was claimed that this was a private family business. There were also some bleeding hearts, carrying on about how Mrs. Yaguda needed to generate a family income! Seems like everything Guth, Yaguda and Applebaum own is (by some means) misappropriated from the investors.

insider – Your entitled to your opinions. If the IRS gets involved in this property, I can assure you that they won’t be bothering with Mr. Fuson unless ‘HE’ cheated on ‘HIS’ income taxes.

By: insider on 10/25/09

As usual Cindy you miss the point. The guy in the driver’s seat pulls everyone else into his little scheme making them accomplices in whatever small way it may seem. That way they are all scared of the repercussions of their own acts leaving the big dog to run free. Don’t kid yourself if you knowingly help someone else perpetrate a crime you become a part of the crime. You’re living in a fairy tale if you think billing to another project to help someone else cheat the IRS is not a crime.

By: Cindy on 10/25/09

insider, the only people involved in tax evasion is C.A and K.G. The contractor is not responsible for how anybody claims their income and expenses. The contractor is guilty of providing an avenue for C&K to misappropriate funds but it was up to C&K to claim the personal income. The investors equally have not been dragged into a tax fraud. Granted the expense on the project is overstated by a million dollars but the investors still paid it and it was an appropriate tax deduction for them. The IRS has a beef with only C&K. If the IRS does get involved that will be less revenue for the investors to recover. I’d like to see them add some time to Guth’s prison sentence but I hate see the IRS go to the head of the line and confiscate assets (which they will) when they find out.

By: insider on 10/25/09

So let’s see if I’ve got this right. C.A has his contractor right up a bill and charge work done to C.A.’s and K.G.’s personal residence to a spec. house being built by Estate. So basically C.A. and K.G. have embezzled money from the spec. house for their personal residence and home business. Now Estate has all these investors in the project. But C.A. and K.G. just stole their money. The intent of course is to sell the spec. house and deduct the money they appropriated for their personal use as a capital cost. That sounds like tax fraud as well as the theft from any investors. That’s sounds like a federal offence. Of course in the commission of this crime they drag the stupid ass contractor in who is really just getting paid for his work but knows he is involved in a misappropriation of funds, fraud, and tax evasion. Hmmm guess he won’t be telling anyone unless they ask. As to any investors that are a part of that project they probably don’t realize it but they just got drug into the tax fraud. Now K.G. probably hates C.A. guts at this point but just doesn’t want that additional fraud charge at this point not to speak of the intended or actual tax evasion that did or was intended to take place. Where’s the D.A., IRS and the FBI in this deal? Sounds like before they give K.G. that cushy sentence they might want to make it a requirement that she provide truthful testimony about how much money was diverted from one project to another for hers and C.A. personal benefit. Is Josh just a stooge and and the real culprit yet to be charged?

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/25/09

Also Von Dohlen stands by and lets Guth and UnGuth’s lawyer write their own guilty pleas and time to be served. When are we going to be SERVED by a decent D.A.??!!!

This is SOOOO far past ridiculas.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 10/25/09

Mr. Von Dohlen calls Fuson, Fuson calls him right back, and Von Dohlen NEVER calls back!!! I said it before in the whole county money debacle, Von Dohlen is WAAYYYYY in over his head. For Gods sake somebody call 911 right away and get a real investigater on this and get rid of Barney Fife and his one man bullet show!!

By: Scott81611 on 10/25/09

Guth and Yaguda would certainly seem to be guilty of this incredible fraud, but I highly suspect that it was Applebaum who, as the person in the article said, “got the ball rolling”.

I met Applebaum in the early ’00’s and he oozed greed and deceit from every pour – and I just met him socially! I wouldn’t have entrusted that man with a quarter if I wanted to see it again.

By: Al on 10/25/09

Another pocket for bilked investors to pick through.

By: insider on 10/25/09

So the chickens come home to roost. I wondered how Charlie avoided all this. How could Karen and Josh bring him down when this only adds to the fraud and potential tax evasion charges that this kind of shenanigans will bring. Greed is the root of all evil.