San Luis Obispo developers accused of swindling investors

May 14, 2020

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit


A former investor and partner of San Luis Obispo based developers John Belsher and Ryan Wright recently filed a lawsuit against the pair accusing them of swindling him out of $700,000 through a double escrow scheme.

The lawsuit, filed by Tayor Judkins on April 24, accuses Belsher and Wright of fraud, misrepresentation, breach of judiciary duty and breach of a promissory note. Belsher, Wright (previously known as Ryan Petetit) and their PB Companies drew in multiple commercial lenders and private parties to invest in their projects, a handful of whom have sued them for alleged financial misdeeds.

In 2015, Belsher, Wright and Judkins forged a partnership, Marsh-Higuera Mixed Use LLC, which purchased buildings at 545 Higuera Street and 486 Marsh Street. While in escrow to purchase the two properties from Coast National Bank, Belsher and Wright solicited Judkins to invest $1 million and become a partner in a limited liability company allegedly in escrow to purchase the property from the bank for $4 million.

However, Belsher and Wright had created two companies: Marsh Higuera LLC and Higuera/Coast LLC. In both writing and orally, Belsher and Wright misrepresented “that Marsh Higuera LLC was purchasing the property directly from Coast National Bank,” according to the lawsuit.

On July 31, 2015, Higuera/Coast LLC purchased the properties from Coast National Bank for $3.3 million and concurrently sold the properties to Marsh Higuera LLC for $4 million.

“This concurrent ‘double escrow’ allowed Higuera/Coast LLC to use Plaintiffs’ funds to purchase the property and, at the same time allowed Defendants to bank the $700,000 difference between the property’s actual purchase price and the price paid by Plaintiffs,” according to the lawsuit. “Belsher, self-identifying as Marsh Higuera LLC’s attorney and trusted fiduciary, represented Marsh Higuera LLC’s legal interests in the transaction. Defendants knew their representations were false, intentionally deceived plaintiffs and actively concealed the true facts from the plaintiffs.”

In addition, Judkins accuses Belsher and Wright of fraudulently leasing out the building at 545 Higuera Street and then collecting more than $250,000 in rent.

Without Judkins’ knowledge, Belsher filed a statement of information with the Secretary of State listing PB Companies as Marsh-Higuera’s manager, even though PB Companies is not a manager or an owner of Marsh-Higuera.

On Sept. 30, 2015, Wright, who had no ownership in Marsh-Higuera, leased the building at 545 Higuera Street to Mosaic Business Services for $7,875 a month. Payments were sent to PB Companies on Higuera Street, according to court records.

Judkins is seeking restitution with interest and punitive damages.

Despite having multiple bankruptcies, tax liens and lawsuits accusing the pair of fraud, for years Wright and Belsher appeared to be enjoying the high life. They regularly rented private jets, traveled overseas and attended national sports events, while unable to pay investors.

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What would be a fitting caption for the photo?

Eyes Everywhere

Don’t worry, John. If the FBI shows up, Adam gave me some of his pills. We’ll be fine.


Does any of this sound familiar? Does the refusal of the FORMER newspaper of record and propagandist for real estate fraud to acknowledge this sound familiar? And The Tribune wants donations? For what? We are bombarded with, and know everything about, Covid-19, thank you very much. I’ll buy some Top Ramen for The Tribune staff after I’ve fed every hungry person on the planet and taken the CCN staff out for steak and lobster.


Scam artist scumbags.

Erik T

No mention that they are Adam Hill’s business partners? And why no mention that Wright/Ryan Petetit brutally beat his girlfriend and is currently doing time for it? Could we please have an update on Wright/Petetit, CCN?


Belsher (Belcher) was shady way before any of this went down. Hang em’ high


There is so much more to the tangled web woven here. Let’s see what the FBI has to say about Hill’s dealings. It should be fascinating.


It appears they may be friends of Kelly Gearheart. May they both receive the same sentence if tried and convicted. Better yet, let all those they scammed be able to spend 10 minutes with them in a closed room for real justice. I know that’s not right, but boy do they deserve it.


I have a hard enough time doing my regular 9-5 job, sometimes. How do these people have the time and ingenuity to scheme and scam on such a grand scale and still appear to be “legitimate” business people?

The bottom line is nobody likes a thief, not even other criminals. If they’ll steal from someone else, they’ll steal from you, too.


Too bad Adam Hill isn’t in this photo. He’s tied to these two.

It’s always a shame when his name is left out of a con-artist story, he should get some credit for what he’s helped them achieve at the expense of others.


Poor Velie. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. Hill shilled for these guys shamelessly and openly, never revealing that he was a partner in their businesses.

FBI, I hear y’all is planning a big roundup.