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.


Need some help from Cal Coast readers:

What is the relationship between Kevin mcCarthey and the Pe Ji Ho Ta debacle Who made the contributions How much and can someone send me documentaiton which supports this asap Namely when the contributions were made, by whom and if they were involved with PE ji ho ta Thanks



Everyone connected to this case should fall and fall hard. It goes deeper than we even know. Hopefully, the wheels of justice will turn quickly and everyone so deserving will land in prison. To Mr. Gearhart, I say: Please, bend over and pick up the soap! You will then know how all of your victims felt by your actions!


There is a tongue and cheek flavor behind this article and I have to wonder if Jay Miller has even begun to deal with the reality as in REALITY of his actions and the consequences?

He doesn’t seem to be coming to terms with the fact that he is going to be wearing prison clothes for 9 years. Good Lord forbid that he would be wearing prison clothes and surrounded by a fence. Oh no, not Jay in prison garbs behind real bars, that would actually feel like prison and he would prefer to keep fooling himself about who he really is. Wake up Jay, it’s time to pay the piper. Give your designer tennis wear and T-shirts away, you won’t be needing them and your money won’t buy you anything that you can’t get at a 7-11 store for at least NINE YEARS.

I doubt they will put you in minimum security with no fence. They know who is likely to runaway and you are surely one of those guy’s. One look at your new bedroom, bathroom, dining room and housemates and you will surely try to head for the hills.

See Yah


Cindy do you know if this is in state or federal court . It will make a difference when he is eligible for parole .


As far as I know this outcome is the result of a FBI investigation that was turned over to the Federal Prosecutors (US Attorney’s office). That would mean it is a Federal proceeding and he will go to Federal Prison. I don’t think they get parole, it’s my understanding that they can get some time knocked off their sentence but that they end up having to serve close to 90% of the prison time.

If you look at the contents of this story, Miller seems to be trying to bargain for at least 9 years or less, which means they (prosecutors) are actually considering more time than that. So if he gets sentenced to 9 years, it’s my understanding that he will serve those 9 years because this is all occurring subsequent to his grand jury testimony so time off has already been considered in this plea bargain but again Miller is asking for no more time than 9 years, so I would say he will at least get 9 years. If he refuses to testify against Gearhart in a criminal proceeding, then he will get more time. That is my understanding based on what’s being said in some legal communities.


Glad to hear the Attorney General’s office is lighting the fire because the DA’s office sure isn’t moving fast At least they aren’t moving fast on Grigger Jones


And the evidence submitted were the TWO 1st Amendments One with the forged signatures Admittedly forged by our stepmother She stated in court the signatures were not hers. Also Robert jones contrary to his Affidavit in 2006 wherein he states the documents were signed in his office three days later, stated under oath last July that he doesn’t recall the Affidavit or the 1st Amendment signed in California

he lied to the Judge saying our dad was disappointed in myself adn my brother and didn’t have a good relationship wtih my daughter, Elvin’s only granddaughhter That hurts

the guy has exhibited a pattern of lying to make himself look good, to cover up his corrupt behavior and all the while he is slandering our family

It’s easy to say things about a guy who is dead and since our father is not alive to defend his allegations……………………..all the more convenient for Jones.


Nanci, what do you mean the DA isn’t moving fast? That criminal by neglect isn’t moving at all. Our DA is a worthless pal of the crooks as far as I can tell.


Yeah well calls have been made Letters have been written and I am NOT going away Justice will be served and the GOOD OLE BOYS had better HOMESTEAD their residences as Attorney Robert M Jones (grigger) has threatened to others.

Why isn’t the DA moving forward based on the information and investigation by Detective Pflum? They have the documents with the forged signatures The forensics report the transcripts and e mails confirming OUR STEPMOTHER states she and my father DID not sign the 1st Amendment in California


I could’t even get Pflum to call me back. This whole gig is really a gas, what a bunch of creeps at every level.


Pflum is lacking in the detective work mentality.


I talked to Plumn he concluded that Grigger was dirty as a Siberian refugee child, and that he to had suspicions of Grigger Jones being dirty as a pig, but he turned in his report and the DA did nothing why, quote, “we have an assembly man in our pocket”, Gearhart said, and now he is our representative!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Plumn sounded on the up and up to me and I am very hard to please, this is way over the top in conspiracy. Why do you think he’s not in jail,,,, duh, friends in high places write the script.


Pal of the crooks? The DA’s office are the crooks. They are ripping off the taxpayers every day by trumping up charges wherever they can to keep the prisons full and the courts busy. If a case like Jones comes their way, they don’t seem to be interested. It still amazes me Kelly hasn’t been arrested yet.


Worthless or not, who keeps reelecting him to serve as DA? we do, the people of SLO, its time for change.


You could run and we would have some one to vote for!


I hope your right about federal court . I apologize if I’m wrong , but if it is state court I think he would be eligible in about 3 years for parole . Then he would be living large with all the money he has hidden away . I am afraid what will really happen is he will go before the parole board armed with lies …. I mean facts that he has developed a medical disability of a hang nail or male balding along with the fact that he has FOUND GOD !!! Being a white male with a medical disability that has FOUND GOD , they will let him out after a year or two . With GOD on his side to forgive him , he will take all that hidden money and live large ever after .


right on, the illicit power of the bible is awesome. Dummies fall for that story all the time.


a mighty fortress indeed, last refuge for scoundrels.


I gave you the red because you are so right, that I can’t stand it, hopefully this devil shall pay, found god my ass, I hope God finds him and nails him to a cross!


Yeah, like Frank Vennes Jr. in Minnesota, a friend of Michelle Bachmann’s. He was in jail for money laundering and sale of drugs, “found Jesus,” got out and used his new-found “faith” to dupe the true faithful in a ponzi scheme that made him millions and lost them millions. And they trusted him because he was a good “Christian” man who supported charities like Teen Challenge to make up for his past sins.



This just crossed my mind, he wants to get in, then run away after taking the heat off the whole pack of vermin and go get our money and live fat on the hog, I say maximize security to it’s utmost until he cries like a baby and gives back the cash. You know and I know they have some stashed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Pretty cheeky “demands.” I’m surprised he doesn’t mention wanting to bring along his microwave oven, big screen teevee, Wii, and golf clubs.

Whatever he’s been smoking, he likely won’t be able to get that prescription refilled in the joint .


Something I just remembered. I remember AFTER 05′ that Jay had started aquiring a whole lot of motorcycles. At least eight. Boy he sure didn’t mind caving to Kelly when his life style changed.

Again Jay YOU had a resposibility to the investors. You let Kelly bully you into something that was wrong. Did he hold a gun to your head? No I imagine the conversation was something like if you don’t, I’ll take my business else where. Instead of doing the RIGHT thing and saying, sorry you feel that way Kelly but go ahead, you didn’t want to lose your lifestyle or try and get other jobs and you CAVED!!! Now you are just as guilty in the real world the rest of us live in.

Save your bulls**t to save your ass when your standing in front of St. Peter at the pearly gates. He’ll know the real score.


I think you’re too generous with Miller. If he were truly repentant for what he did to so many investors what with some having lost their homes and their entire life savings, he would not have any problem telling “everything” he knows including where some of the money might be found. Instead Miller initially hired the scum attorney, Grigger Jones to figure out how to hide proceeds and cover his tracks. Now as he sit’s in his comfortable home, he still is only concerned about himself and what kind of deal he can get while conniving to fool his potential “ new associates” about himself. He is as selfish a person as I have ever known of. I don’t believe for one moment that it took Gearhart much convincing to get Miller on the band wagon with him.

He will now testify on all he knows about Gearhart and Gearhart will tell all he knows about Atascadero and everybody will be wanting a plea deal and eventually it will all come out as they drop like flies looking for a better pile of dung to land on.


Thank you Nancy . Two more thing to think about . Miller will be doing time at a rate of only one year per about 12 million dollars of swindling and life ruining . I think 20 years should be his minimum . I also think Grigger Jones should be investigated for possible criminal activity and disbarment .


‘Wasn’t Robert Grigger Jones Jay Miller’s attorney and wasn’t it Jones who kept changing the title on several properties for Miller? someone early on explained to me several things that Jones had done acting as Jay Miller’s attorney during the time when all of these people were getting ripped off’ Check out the letter from SLO DA’s offices. and let me know your thoughts




Hopefully he will testify about EVERYONE and the truth will come out.


Um I’m a little lost. Where was I generous? In suggesting that Miller had a resposibility to his clients? In saying that he is full of B.S. that not even St. Peter will buy it?

Nancy I have dealt with both Jay and Kelly. We all know by now your Grigger connection with your dad but have you personnelly had any dealings with Jay or Kelly?

I am not trying to cover for Jay or say he is innocent. I am commenting an opinion of how I figured it went down. I think that a lot of people who knew both could buy this as a possible theory.


I have been investigating Miller/Gearhart since the onset of this nightmare, including finding out Gearhart was a drunk driving teenager without a license and killed his best friend senselessly, I have recently found out that besides the ball ball bat incident in Ohio, that lord only knows about, there was something else, it happened many years ago and just goes to show how stupid Gearhart really is, he was goofing off with pranks, in the old Williams brothers market next to Carlocks bakery in Los Osos, and low and behold he ran his fat face, stupidly into a mop handle that was positioned perfectly, probably put there by god himself, anyway to the satisfaction of many, LOL, this unmanned mop handle knocked Kelly Gearhart out cold, he just ran his face into it and out went the lights!

Also Miller in loan number 2006-088, was the lead-borrower and Kelly Gearhart was listed as the co-borrower in this loan, this was a direct attempt to defraud investors of the principal by Miller, so how can he say he was led by Gearhart?

If Miller is to turn states evidence I wonder if he will turn in the master mind behind the entire scam, we all know who that is, if you don’t start looking at the former citizens of the year, his name is there.


How amusing. Does Miller really believe that he is going to be able to testify against Gearhart and others and then go to prison and pass himself off as a stand up guy? Considering all the investors, developers and criminal friends he ripped off or ratted on, there isn’t a prison in CA where the inmates won’t know that he is a snitch.

Miller thinks he is going to pack his tennis shoes, towels, T-shirts and go summer camp, hilarious! Give him 20 years in lock up or 15 if he testifies against everybody, he’ll still testify. Of course he could take a chance on going to trial but he will be found guilty and they’ll get Courtney on all the same charges they get him on. She deserves prison time too, she is just as guilty.

Miller, where ever you do your time there is one thing that is certain, we will see to it that all your roommates know exactly who you are. By the way, I know a CPA who is doing his time at Lompoc in minimum security. He still has 3 years to go and in Fed prison, you do 90% of the sentence. I already told him that you might be showing up there.


Wha.. Wha… Wha… I think he should of thought of the consequences before ruining the financial lives of so many people. Put a fence around this guy. He will get used to prison life. 3 meals and an uncomfortable bed. He deserves no more. I love how he dictates a reduced sentence for ratting out on someone else. Is there no honor among crooks?


Unbelievable, where does he get the nerve to try and dictate the sentencing and prison terms for the crime he committed. If he gets away with this, it will set a precedence for all criminals and would be criminals. I mean after all, can’t we all rat out someone for something, hmm, let me think, I’ll just go commit a crime and then bargain with someone else’s life! I believe there was a commercial for awhile that said, “if you can’t do the time, then don’t commit the crime.” It’s a little to late to decide you can’t do the time.


A listener on the radio asked where all the money is. My understanding is, (from a coversation recently) that Kelly does still have some of it, (maybe at least four million) and it is stashed here and there in different people, waiting for a later date, when this would all blow over.