SLO County developers accused of money laundering, wire fraud

February 17, 2022

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit-Wright

By KAREN VELIE

The FBI is probing San Luis Obispo County developer Ryan Wright in connection with wire fraud, money laundering and tax charges, a SLO superior court judge revealed while tentatively ruling that Wright would have to give a deposition in a civil case.

SLO County Superior Court Judge Hernaldo Baltodano tentatively ruled that Wright could not use his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination to prevent having to testify. Wright was formerly known as Ryan Petetit.

The Jeffrey Chase and Debora Chase Revocable Living Trust accused Wright and his partner John Belsher of bilking them out of more than $2 million in three development projects using promises of high returns from the developments.

As part of the lawsuit, the Chase Trust sought to depose Wright.

His lawyers asked Judge Baltodano to halt the deposition and delay the case. The initial lawsuit was filed in 2018.

Their reasoning: Testifying under oath in the civil case would either have Wright waiving his right against self-incrimination, or, by refusing to answer questions using his 5th Amendment rights, he would not be able to defend himself against the claims in the civil lawsuit. His testimony, under oath in the civil case, could be used against him in a criminal trial.

Wright learned from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that he was the target of an FBI investigation into “wire fraud and money laundering, ‘among other charges,’ ” in June 2020, his lawyer said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rybarczyk told Wright’s attorney that, “the government had obtained approvals to present an indictment to the grand jury charging Wright with, among other charges, wire fraud.”

Rybarczyk also said that government is investigating Wright for his conduct in relation to “other investors.”

The accountant for Wright’s current or former business entities received a subpoena in connection with the case in December of 2021, Wright’s attorney said in his motion.

Judge Baltodano noted that “the Subpoena seeks documents relating to the financial transactions of many of the Defendants herein.”

Judge Baltodono tentatively denied Wright’s motion saying that, “these arguments do not support that Wright should not have to sit for his deposition at all.”

Instead, Judge Baltodono wrote, Wright “can interpose appropriate objections so that the trial court can then rule on the validity of their invocation of the privilege with respect to specific questions.”

Judge Baltodono ordered Wright’s deposition take place no later than Feb. 22.

Belsher is being sued over claims that he violated State Bar rules of professional conduct. Belsher advised his clients to invest in his and Wright’s construction projects, many of which were never completed, the civil suit said.

“Defendant Belsher intentionally and maliciously violated his fiduciary duties of loyalty and due care owed to his client, The Chase Trust, resulting in damage to The Chase Trust in an amount over $100,000,” according to the lawsuit. “Defendant Belsher’s conduct was despicable and malicious, entitling The Chase Trust to punitive damages.”

Belsher and Wright are connected with San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill who committed suicide during an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption.

In 2014, Hill served as a paid consultant for Belsher and Wright’s PB Companies, exclusively reported by CalCoastNews in 2015.

Hill identified himself on a statement of information filed with the state as the “managing member” of San Luis Consulting, one of 33 limited liability corporations tied to PB Companies. Hill reported that he was paid $10,001 to $100,000 in 2014 for what he described as “writing, editing, and coaching.”

John Belsher, SLO Councilwoman Jan Marx, Supervisor Adam Hill and Jody Belsher

Hill would cut ribbons at the developers’ project announcements, introduce the men to influential people and promote their developments.

FBI agents served a search warrant on SLO County Board of Supervisor Chair Adam Hill’s home on March 11, 2020, at the same time they were searching his office at the County Building. The warrant noted allegations of wrongdoing linked to Belsher and Wright as well as marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring, according to a county source.

Wright is the former Ryan Petetit. Petitit pleaded guilty to assault with great bodily injury, false imprisonment with force, dissuading a witness and two charges of inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant in 2018. Shortly before going to jail, Petetit changed his name from Ryan Petetit to Ryan Wright.


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moto1965

I met Ryan when I had just passed my PE License test, he brought plans to me that I had worked on for a previous employer and asked if I would stamp them, not knowing I had worked on them. I knew the only reason they weren’t stamped is because he didn’t pay his bill. I told him no and called my former employer to let them know what he was up to.


He was a POS then and still one now, just add domestic abuse to his resume. I hope he gets what he deserves.


Gramelin

Cant wait for the Movie to come out on Netflix! Someone Producer will approach Ryan in prison, trading him Beef jerky for details of their Coke/Pot parties at Hill’s house…making their BIG Plans to scam the Good people of the County. You can’t make this stuff up!


OnlyinSLO

Remember Ryan, big fish very small puddle. When you go to prison, you will be placed in cells with the 18th street crypts and I hope you enjoy every day, every hour and every minute and maybe you will remenate on what you have done.


OnlyinSLO

Like Bernie Madoff, Michael Milken, Charles Keating, Scott Peterson, Kelly Gearheart, Adam Hill and so many others they all lived large on other people’s money and thwarted the law. When their world starts to crumble they then commit other crimes, in Ryan Petetit / Wright’ case it was to abuse, torture and hold hostage a young woman. And this is what brings them to the forefront of the news and then the scrutiny begins. The Dow side of this is why did the AG have to get involved? Why didn’t local officials (Sheriff Parkinson or the DA) investigate the crimes of these serial criminals? Well, the answer is simple, just like the issues with the County of SLO IWMA they are all friends, woven from the same cloth. They truly won’t investigate, much less prosecute their own. With that said, Belsher and Petetit / Wright was it worth it? You have been sued and in the press for being infamous now for nearly a decade? You are also both part of numerous criminal investigations, was it worth it? You will both spend a decade in prison, was it worth it? You will be passed around within the confines of a prison as a party favor, will that be worth it? Once prosecuted, then you wife will be sued over and over again, until full satisfaction is achieved, was it worth it? Your son is now known as the son of a con-man, an embezzler, a criminal, was it worth it? Do us all a favor and your families a favor and take the Adam Hill road.


blackjack

An older guy I know went to high school with Belsher and said he changed his name years ago as well. It used to be Belcher according to him. We were on the receiving end of one of his frivolous lawsuits which failed on his part, but was costly on ours. Scum of the earth these types , and worthless as t^ts on a boar hog.


slo-to-load

I was at a mixer years ago (before his “fall from grace”) where Petetit-Wright was bragging about how he had a strong connection with Adam Hill and could pretty much get anything he wanted from the county because he had that hookup. I really wish I had gotten that on video. What a scumbag! Everyone at the event who heard him talk could tell what a tool he was.