Kelly Gearhart appeals guilty plea, sentencing
July 8, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
Former Atascadero developer Kelly Gearhart plead guilty to money laundering and wire fraud, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison last week, and Monday he filed a notice of appeal.
According to the notice, Gearhart plans to appeal his guilty plea, his 14 year sentence and his reprimand into a federal facility in Los Angeles where he is currently being held without bail. Nevertheless, even though Gearhart’s attorney noted his intent to appeal multiple issues, in his appeal he may or may not raise each issue.
Until last week, Gearhart had lived in Ohio after posting $100,000 bail in 2012.
In July 2012, Gearhart was indicted by a federal grand jury on 16 charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. If convicted on all charges, Gearhart faced up to 300 years in federal prison.
In 2014, Gearhart, now 55, plead guilty to knowingly and intentionally making misrepresentations and omissions relating to real estate projects to get people and institutions, including nonprofits, to trust him with their money. As part of the plea agreement, Gearhart was charged with three of the original 16 felony counts which reduced the maximum sentence allowable by law to 50 years in federal prison.
During Gearhart’s sentencing hearing, the prosecution asked for a 135 months sentence and Gearhart sought 57 months’ imprisonment. Nevertheless, U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II sentenced Gearhart to 168 noting the grievous harm Gearhart inflicted on his victims.
The court filed a schedule on Tuesday that requires Gearhart’s attorney to file an opening brief by Nov. 4 and the prosecution to respond by Dec. 4.
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