HFI executive bargaining for less prison time

April 22, 2011

Kelly Gearhart and Jay Miller


Hurst Financial, Inc. (HFI) president Jay Miller is working on a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against former north county developer Kelly Gearhart, according to inside sources.

Miller, 63, is asking to be incarcerated in a minimum security facility. He also wants the agreement to leave out wording that could tip off his future prison mates that he ratted-out his former business partners.

In addition, he wants four counts reduced to one and an agreement that he is given less time for turning himself in, pleading guilty, informing on others and being a non-violent criminal.

The FBI and the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s offices first mounted an investigation into fraudulent lending and financial practices by Miller, his daughter Courtney Brard, and Gearhart in 2008. No charges have yet been filed.

Miller asserts that his testimony to the Grand Jury and possible cooperation in upcoming trials against Gearhart and other defendants should afford him a nine year or lower sentence with time off for his cooperation.

He argues that he is worried about his safety in a higher security facility and is requesting a lighter sentence at a prison camp in Lompoc than originally offered if he is going to cooperate.

Laurel and Jay Miller

Miller claims he was blindly led by Gearhart, but also admits he was aware of the damage he was inflicting on investors.

Even so, he makes a point of noting that, from 1981 through 2005, he worked honestly.

At Lompoc Federal Prison, inmates stay in three separate facilities – medium security, low security and a minimum security camp.  At the Federal Prison Camp, where Miller would like to spend his pending incarceration, there is no fence and an average inmate to guard ratio of 26 to one.

He is reportedly gathering accoutrements such as T-shirts, tennis shoes and towels and asking when he needs to self surrender. However, the clothes Miller is wearing when arrested will be mailed back to his family and he is not permitted to bring his own shoes, towels and T-shirts.

He can keep his wedding ring, glasses and some money with him in prison.

HFI made short-term “bridge” loans to contractors. Investors, during good times, would receive 12 percent on their money in monthly interest payments, with their entire principal returned upon maturation of the loan.

More than 1,200 investors, primarily seniors, invested more than $100 million that is currently unaccounted for. According to the Department of Real Estate, Miller failed in his contractual agreement to protect investors by funding projects only as work was completed, through progressive payments. Instead, he paid Gearhart in lump sums “without any monitoring of the construction.”

The FBI seized proceeds from the sale of Miller’s home in 2009 because of allegations of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, according to the seizure warrant.

Typically, the FBI attempts to arrests everyone involved in an organized crime group on the same day.

Miller’s attorney Jeffrey Benise did not respond to requests for comment. Thom Mrozek, the public affairs officer for the United States Attorney’s office, said that he cannot comment on a case that hasn’t been filed.



  1. Maxfusion says:

    ‘Miller, 63, is asking to be incarcerated in a minimum security facility. He also wants the agreement to leave out wording that could tip off his future prison mates that he ratted-out his former business partners.’

    You don’t get it Mr. Miller. Your sentence is determined by guidelines which are weighted by how much money you bilked. The longer the sentence the higher security institution you’ll call home. Inmates know a rat, they don’t need anything written, they can smell you.

    (21) 25 Total Votes - 23 up - 2 down
    • hotdog says:

      I would offer him the chair, unless he returns all the money and all assets he has anywhere; then give him a year in hard prison (on the rock pile) for every million not recovered. Same for Courtney, his little girl who is as big a thief as he is.

      (15) 23 Total Votes - 19 up - 4 down
      • cheseburger says:

        I will kindly pull the switch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
      • cheseburger says:

        I will kindly pull the switch on the chair, electric I hope, something new, favoritism never is with cal coast news, right?

        (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
        • cheseburger says:

          To make that more clear I thought I was deleted, but I guess just under review, what I am getting at is Cal Coast doesn’t delete anything that is on the up and up and look how many low down crooks are blogging in and telling us how stupid we were to invest, Miller just rolled on all the crooks, he might get deleted by them, May 11th at 9:00 I have a bankruptcy review at the Paso Court, any and all should attend and stare Tagerman right in the eyes!
          See if he starts sweating, if he is GOB.,,, it might be time to follow the last guy and take his pension early! Nobody is above the law even if they are it.

          (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
          • cheseburger says:

            No one showed, Tagerman told me to go get a lawyer, Tagerman is right, this is way over my head but, just like I told him and the court, there wasn’t a lawyer in this county that would take this case in December of 08, and I was forced to file IN PRO PER, god how judges hate that word, look at Daryle Nelson, he never had a chance.
            Now that Miller has copped out, is there a lawyer out there who just passed the bar who wants to test his skills? High profile case, lots of exposure, default entered Nov. 22, 2010 against Gearhart, looks easy to me, my take is there will be one trial for all the crooks and that will be that, any attorneys out there up for this, the evidence is all there, even the admission of guilt, no takers, okay how about an un-named legal coach?

            (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • jplantz says:

        Someone mentioned Jones, Miller’s lawyer. I asked jay to do a Judicial Foreclosure on Fred Machado of La’Valencia Estates when this all started. Jones wrote a letter that said it wouldn’t be worth it, I have the letter.
        Now that the money is all hidden, guess it wouldn’t be worth it. Jones “IS” as BIG a crook as Jay Miller. Oh! Yes, and his little two faced daughter Courtney.

        (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
        • cheseburger says:

          Can I get a copy of the letter, I am about to ad him ,”Jones” as a defendant? Karen has my #

          (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
          • cheseburger says:

            If anybody cares Jones resigned from representing Miller in my in pro per case, now both me and Miller are in Pro Per, can we please get this show on , I can prove he is guilty as hell. where’s that tree?

            (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
        • Nancimeek says:

          jplantz? I too would like a copy of that letter Please e mail me at nmeek48409@aol.com
          Check out our link for more information on our relationship and dealings with Mr. Grigger Jones and Judge Tangenman

          Here is our video created to show what Jones did to our family with the forged documents


          We are not going away and if anything everytihng is about to come to a head

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. ApathyWillKillYou says:

    Are you as sick as I am reading story after story of KNOWN blatant corruption in SLO County and NOTHING happens!

    There is NOTHING anyone of us can do… NOTHING… bitch, moan and complain in the these blogs and NOTHING will change!

    The problem lies squarely with the SLO DA Shea!

    It is TIME for a RECALL!

    Who has the guts to stand up to Shea and get him out of there!

    I know I DON’T!

    Can you imagine what would happen to you or I if the SLO DA focused his wrath on the people behind a recall effort! Combine this with the potential of the SLO Sheriff’s department and we might as well be living in Libya or Syria!

    In other words I am honestly afraid to speak too ‘loudly’ to the subject for real fear of retaliation.

    How do we know that the DA’s or the Sheriff’s office has notalready issued a private search warrant to obtain the IP address of every blogger on this site and other local blogger sites!

    Be afraid… be very afraid.

    The county is going broke but rest assured they’ve got room for you in the SLO County Jail!

    So quit your bitching, moaning and complaining.. pay your local, state and federal taxes, your mandated social security, your soon to be mandated health insurance, your skyrocketing utility bills, property taxes and don’t forget to daily tithe foreign oil at soon to be minimum 5 bucks a gallon!

    Let your elected OFFICIALS do their thing as they have our best interest in heart and above all…

    SHUT UP!

    Because Iam changing my name to …APATHY WILL SET YOU FREE!

    (25) 31 Total Votes - 28 up - 3 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      I don’t like Shea but in the case here (Miller) and what we are commenting on, Shea is and has been out of the picture since ’08. Known fact that the Feds took this over long ago. So removing Shea in this instance has nothing to do with this case in point. Just mentioning. Oh and for the record I have stood up to cops when something is wrong. Written the Pres. etc. I don’t have any fear of officials. They are like you and me they put their pants on one leg at a time. And if your like our police Chief in Paso you even jump up on the table and dance!!!

      (21) 21 Total Votes - 21 up - 0 down
    • Cindy says:

      Apathy, The only way for the DA or the LE to get these IP addresses is to go through the owner of this site, Karen Velie. Don’t worry, she won’t give up any IP addresses. The DA once mentioned bugging her telephone and she found out about it. He did a lot of fast back peddling and that was just for even mentioning that he would like to, not that he could have got a warrant anyway, it was just a dream of his and he tried to deny even saying that he would “like to”.

      During the last election, nobody ran against Shae, if someone would run against him, we could vote him out. I don’t believe that people are afraid to run against him, there isn’t anybody that wants to be our DA, or at least, not in the last election.

      BTDT is right in everything he say’s. There is nothing to fear except complacency. Change takes time. Hang in there and speak out.


      And so is the CA Attorney General and “Moonbean” :)

      (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
      • Cindy says:

        Correction, I just went back and looked at the story about Shae wanting to bug Velie’s phone. I stand corrected, what he wanted was to get a hold of her phone records so that he could see who she was talking to. He wanted to know where the leaks were!! Of course, the idea was illegal and he couldn’t do it even if he had actually tried.

        (11) 11 Total Votes - 11 up - 0 down
      • danika says:

        As long as there is a breath in my body and I am affronted by injustice, I will speak out. I have to..it’s in my nature! ; )

        (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
      • Nancimeek says:

        Actually the attorney general Jerry Brown has taken an active yet behind the scenes intervention An audit was performed with the Atascadero PD and I was told he is kept abreast of the PeJiHoTa situation as well as the corruption within the SLO courts Jerry and my father were friends since their days in Law School at Santa Clara University. No doubt for Jerry what has been happening to our father’s estate thanks to Grigger Jones and the fraud he committed on the 1st Amendment, has been a personal afront. When something comes across his desk related to Central California and the Good ole boys involved with Gearhart and HFI his ears perk up. You have to trust me on this.

        (16) 16 Total Votes - 16 up - 0 down

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