Kelly Gearhart’s sentence reduced five years

June 18, 2019

Kelly Gearhart at his sentencing in 2015


Notorious North County developer Kelly Gearhart won a five-year sentence reduction on June 11. He is now scheduled for release on March 2, 2023. [Cal Coast Times]

In July 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II sentenced the former Atascadero “Person of the Year” to 14 years in federal prison.

The prosecution asked for a sentence of 11.25 years while Gearhart sought 4.75 years imprisonment. Nevertheless, Wright sentenced Gearhart to 14 years noting the grievous harm Gearhart inflicted on his victims.

Shortly afterwards, Gearhart filed an appeal of his guilty plea and 14-year sentence. While Wright reduced Gearhart’s sentence, he still found Gearhart guilty of two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

The charges revolved around accusations Gearhart bilked investors who put money into his Central Coast real estate projects, and then siphoned the money off for other purposes, including maintaining a lavish lifestyle.

In 2008, CalCoastNews exclusively reported that Gearhart and hard-money lender James Miller had swindled investors in a lending scheme with the assistance of title officers, lawyers, public officials and an appraiser.

More than 1,200 investors, primarily seniors, placed nearly $100 million with Miller for funding construction loans. Miller failed in his contractual agreement to protect investors by funding projects only as work was completed. Instead, he paid Gearhart in lump sums without any monitoring of the construction.

In July 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Gearhart on 16 charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. If convicted on all charges, Gearhart faced as much as 300 years in federal prison.

In 2014, Miller plead guilty to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and making a false statement to a bank under an agreement that his daughter Courtney Brard would not be prosecuted. In 2015, Miller was sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

Also in 2014, Gearhart plead guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering under an agreement that his wife Tamara Gearhart would not be prosecuted.

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And the “award winning” Tribune? Bueller?…..Bueller?…..

This is the 6 million dollar question right here. The Tribune is fake news as far as I’m concerned.

Hope you have your checkbook ready for ripping me off. Looking forward to 2023.

I am still wondering why the federal government investigated & prosecuted these criminals rather than the local authorities. Something doesn’t pass the smell test.

Did you miss the part where “locals” decided this guy was citizen of the year? Clearly local authorities can’t be trusted to pass judgement on one of their own.

That had nothing to do with local authorities. It was the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce that elected him citizen of the year. They did the same for his accomplice Wade McKenny.

Because wire fraud is interstate commerce and under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Wire money travels via the fed funds system.

Gearhart will pull a Tony Ferrara and move to Palm Springs or such with all his stolen money, just like Tony did.

Amazing!!! Why would a judge let this guy off early. I just don’t get it.

You really don’t think Kelly Gearhart doesn’t still have some of the money he stole stashed away for when he gets released, minus a little for the judge’s retirement fund.

Neither do I.

Too many quid-pro-quo… let my daughter off as part of my deal… let my wife off as another part of my deal, who where both involved… and if you do I’ll give up more people who were helped in robbing the elderly… and by the way judge, cut my sentence if you would. Who is dictating to who?

I don’t know about all of you out there, but my mom is old and on the edge financially, and people like Gearhart would have snuffed her out of her final years without a meager savings, and that’s just wrong.

SLO, albeit having good weather is very weak on white collar crime and this is another example.

Simply put, the expense of housing him is a cost to everyone but when he is on the streets he creates revenue, through his dealings, with a relatively small number of people. Now that we have easy money through legal drug deals, by 2023 it may be legal to take advantage of the greedy or less informed.

Whose toes did he step on to actually get taken down? Usually these multi million dollar guys have all the right people paid off already.


Impeach liberal, ‘soft-on-crime’ judges, and people like Kelly Gearhart deserves to be locked up in prison FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

This is a man who targeted elderly investors and he knew he was going to take their life savings, so early release is beyond question.

Our justice system is broken.

Woah there, this guy’s whole Ponzi scheme was bolstered by a conservative council board whom were friends and business partners, Mr O Malley?? Why the heck are you dragging politics into this? Stop trolling and going off topic. This guy is getting off easy for 100 million, another John Wallace slap on the wrist.

Always the conman. Bilked people out of millions and the justice system out of 5 years. He’ll start plying his trade again under some other auspice within months after release.

I know people who got tangled up with that mess. So does he get to keep the jet? Ok ok… Inappropriate humor. He accepted a deal providing his wife did not get prosecuted…but wants an additional 5 years off. That would be ok as long as he has to pay his victims back…at least a painful amount as long as he works or they’re paid back.