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.


COMON JAY!! Honest till 05′ and what should I have done?? You say NO!!

I had someone last year offer me thousands of dollars to do a half days work on something that would have put me in trouble with the law in a couple ways. They said no one would no. Well besides the risk, I would know. So of course I said HELL NO!!. It just isn’t worth any amount of money to run afoul of the law. Jay you had to have known you were running afoul of the law. You got greedy, gambled and lost. You could have done like I and just said no.


I am getting flac, from the wife, for even replying, you are king, I just gave you the red to see if your memory is working, an you are the same guy, r, well at least it didn’t take me 45 years of guilt ridden pukka that he will claim, to confess to you that I am your only red mark and like Miller it was only a fraud.,,,,

My daughter just ran up and said,” dad , you said you were going to buy something more, for the BBQ.”

I guess I can now. wink.




sorry I was a hamburger last night, the red I posted was for the one you mistakenly posted on me years ago and told me so, I see Gearhart has left his mark also, he lurks here like a snake in the grass. To all the other posters you guys are so good I don’t even have anything else to say,

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

Except that this is just another fraudulent statement of Millers passing the buck.

I expected Gearhart to be the fall guy. Maybe they have/will all turn on each other.

Any one who wants to attend Miller’s BK hearing May 11, 9:00 dept 2 paso court to support CV 088-068, would be greatly appreciated, we need more heat on Grigger Jones, who I think will have a few problems with the water board election May 4, in Paso.


May 11? I might be able to make that.


Would it be ever so sweet if Miller would indeed give it up on the past Atascadero Citizens of the Year … Gearhart, Grigger Jones and Wade McKinney.

Now throw in Council Members Tom O’Malley, Jerry Clay, Roberta Fonzi and Bob Kelly and you pretty much have hammered the rogues gallery.

Go get em Feds … and prove to the populace that every now and then justice truly does prevail.


@TacomaRose –

Can you elaborate or give any links regarding your professed “rogues gallery” mentioned above? A good friend has recently began working through/with Bob Kelly, so I would like to know if there is any potential pitfalls to avoid.

Thanks in advance!


Do some homework.

Kelly = Good buddy of Gearhart when times were good

Kelly = tried to run interferance and damage control when Gearhart first started circling the drain.

Kelly= Is he same guy that was convicted of 10 counts of Cal Business and Professions codes about 12 years ago?

Do some homework


Thanks for the brief, I’ll tell my friend to do some digging then!


Justice delayed is justice denied. But, better late than never. Yet the scoundrals will get off with a spanking, as usual. We have a totally dysfunctional system. Spit on the sidewalk in front of a cop, you’ll be gone to jail immediately. Steal 125 million the way this bastard did and live like a king for years, then go to the country club for a couple years and then get out and grab the cash you have stashed.


Dont forget Gearhart’s high school buds and business associates Molina and Phillips(and their lawyer Jones)


“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.”

This is what we will not tolerate, he has been running from me for three and a half years and I will expose all his wrongs, see you on the eleventh of May.,,,, Miller or I mean your reflection Grigger Jones, who has mantained your incentence, wonder if he will fry for the Nancy Meek case, lord knows he should, and everybody else. And don’t think your daughter is off the hook yet either, or are you going to rat her out too. Good Friday to you sir. SEE YOU IN COURT, the 11th. notice has been given. 9:00 dept. 2 paso branch come one come all! More to come all of you poaters are right on the money ,, hotdog nails em to the wall! It’s all so true.

jp lantz

I hope they are going after Fred Machado of La’Valencia estates also. He just spent the money and didn’t build any houses, at least not the one’s he borrowed money to build. The problem is these people have had years to hide their stolen money. Their all thieves, all they wanted was free money and to live high on the hog and Jay Miller just gave them the money as long as he got his cut.

I hope they just put them all in prison for 30 years with no deal. They have to have enough evidence to do that without a plea deal.


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

Huh? Like that is a mitigating factor or something. Weren’t most criminals honest until they weren’t?

He was only a lying, thieving criminal for 3 years, how about that!

P.S. I heard this breaking story will be on Dave Congalton, 920 FM – KVEC at 5:30 TODAY.


Holy Sh*t. Now that Velie spilled the beans, I think the Federal Prosecutors had better just pick up Miller and let him do his plea bargaining behind bars. No doubt Gearhart will read this by day’s end and probably put a hit out on Miller. Some people might think that I’m exaggerating but it isn’t just Gearhart that Miller is negotiating his plea deal to “rat-out”. I wonder who else he will name, hopefully Melanie Schneider.

Sounds like the investigation is over and the case is now in the Prosecutor’s hands. No doubt when they pick up Miller they will pick up Gearhart and whoever else. It’s about time.


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

What drivel, what a crook. This statement contradicts itself. Miller, I hope you are reading this. Non violent criminal? Hardly, tell that to the people who lost their homes, those who can’t afford health care-those whose futures you stole. You scumbag, you are way worse than that fat shit gearhead. All the money that is gone was given to YOU-you threw it away after taking your ‘cut’. You are the main crook. You are scum.

And Benice, you filthy criminal who defends white collar criminals. At the trial for your former crooks, Guth and Yaguda of Estate Financial, you proclaimed them ‘INNOCENT’. They then pled guilty… You make millions (our money) defending the predators who contributed to bringing our economy down. One wonders how you sleep at night, but then, like you and miller, psychopaths have no trouble with silly conscience issues.


What a low-life creep. I would like to take those flower lei’s and ram them down his throat. Unfortunatey, they are to nice to waste on such a thug in a business suite facade! Suck it up Jay Miller and do your time.

1 2 3