Gearhart sentenced, cuffed, headed to prison

July 2, 2015

Updated at 6 p.m.

Kelly Gearhart

Kelly Gearhart

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Notorious North County developer Kelly Gearhart was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison Thursday morning by U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II in Los Angeles.

Gearhart, 54, was immediately stripped of his eyeglasses, wedding ring and other personal belongings, handcuffed, and led out of the courtroom by two federal marshals.

The sentence was three years more than prosecutors had suggested. While Gearhart had hoped for a more lenient prison term, Judge Wright sentenced Gearhart to 14 years each on two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering to be served concurrently.

A court official said Gearhart likely will serve at least 85 percent, and probably all, of the sentence.

Gearhart’s attorney Firdaus Dordi argued that Gearhart had been an honest developer whose pride drove him to bend the rules after the market went south. Dordi said that Gearhart had donated money to build the Atascadero High School track, money Dordi said did not come from investors in Gearhart’s projects.

However, United States Attorney Stephen I. Goorvitch  displayed an accounting that showed the $35,000 Gearhart donated for the track came from investors in his Salinas project. Goorvitch said that while a history of philanthropy can result in a lower sentence, in this case Gearhart was spending the victim’s money.

Gearhart’s attorney asked the court to allow his client to remain free until his Oct. 20 restitution hearing so that Gearhart could have time to explain his situation to his 5-year-old daughter.  Judge Wright denied the request while questioning if Gearhart had squirreled money away that he could use to flee.

Gearhart cried intermittently throughout an approximately five-minute statement that included apologies to his victims and claims others had told him his fraudulent acts were legal.

“I want to say how deeply sorry I am to everyone involved and their families,” Gearhart said. “I relied on someone else to say it was lawful. I did not know when to give up. I let my ego get in the way.”

Judge Wright said that even though the prosecution had not clearly established direct harm to hundreds of victims, the grievous harm Gearhart inflicted on his victims led to the higher sentencing.

“I want to note that many crimes are motivated by needs,  some by drug addictions, and some by plain and simple greed,” Judge Wright said.

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UncleCharlie

Cried like the puss gut little bitch that he his.


Slowerfaster

WOW! 14 years ! Let’s get this judge to preside over Anthony Mozilla, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, and the rest of the banksters that crashed the economy in 2007-2008 up to the present, and confiscate all of their hidden ‘wealth’ !


smiley

That is a real judge.!


B Spencer

Thank you Karen for your commitment to this story.

Without your reporting, what took place today would not have happened.


Well done!


smile4thecamera

When the judge delayed sentencing to hear from all the victims that wanted to be heard, I had an idea ol’ Kelly was not going to get off easily. I’m glad to see justice being served for a change. I wish he was made to get into his hidden money stash and make a repayment to the victims though. It would be interesting to know what kind of lifestyle his wife will be living. I have a feeling she has all the money…


Maxfusion

Make no mistake, the IRS will be watching the wife like a hawk, and any conveyances after his arrest will be scrutinized. If he gets parole I hope it’s special parole because if he violates it’s back to slammer to start his sentence all over again. He should’ve been tried under the R.I.C.O statute.


https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/2.57


Maxfusion

Oh and by the way, the length of his sentence insures he won’t be seeing camp time soon. I’m thinking his next stop is Terminal Island by way of the merry-go-round. Not a particularly pleasant way to travel. Enjoy the bologna sandwiches as you R&D through every institution in the country scumbag.


Lewy

There is no parole in the Federal prison system. He’ll be eligible for release after serving 85% of his sentence.


Still Standing

Kelly is a scum bag but knew how to hide money. I remember his son, (RIP), being given a million dollars for his 18th birthday. You can bet Tamera will be on easy street.


dogeatdog

Crocodile tears is what he was crying.


Didn’t mean to lose others hard earned money, but that did not stop you from going on luxury vacations did it.


Just consider prison a long vacation and think of all the new friends you get to meet. I am sure you will all get along just fine, you will be among a group of your peers.


Finally someone has to pay the consequence for their actions, doesn’t happen nearly enough of the time.


SamLouis

His multi-year bugout to Ohio should have earned him another decade in the stir. What a complete POS…


fhill123

Justice delayed is justice denied except this time. Hopefully parole will be denied in the future.


SLO_Johnny

He must serve 80% of his sentence unless he becomes terminally ill and qualifies for compassionate release.


Al

Enjoy your stay scum bag!


pasoparent5

Poor Kelly will be told what to wear, when to wake up and when to go to sleep, what to eat, when to bathe…not exactly the chain gang which he deserves, but 14 years behind bars–is STILL gonna be very unpleasant for A-town’s former Citizen of the Year!


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