Gearhart’s benefactors unveiled
August 15, 2012
An Atascadero woman and another from Texas each pledged $50,000 to keep former North County developer Kelly Gearhart out of jail.
The sister of former developer Ron Hertel, Camile Tompkins, pledged to cover half of Gearhart’s bail while Tiffany George, a relative of Gearhart’s who lives in Texas, put up the other half.
In 2009, when Hertel and his former business partner Bob Fowler’s company R.W. Hertel and Sons was forced into bankruptcy, the business debt exceeded $100 million.
On Monday, Gearhart pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Investigators accuse Gearhart of bilking more than 1,200 investors out of up to $100 million.
As a result of the bond, Gearhart was not taken into custody while he awaits a trial currently scheduled for Oct. 9. though a motion has been filed to continue the trial to Jan. 29. He faces up to 300 years in federal prison if found guilty on all charges.