SLO County developers accused of money laundering, wire fraud

February 17, 2022

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit-Wright


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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Bruce Gibson: knock knock…

I agree. He’s as dirty and corrupt as they come. He’ll be gone from the B.O.S. after this next election cycle. He can go join Heidi Harmon blowing smoke and spewing senseless babble.

How will The Trib spin/downplay/cover this one?

The same way the rest of the liberal media does. To literally not report or cover it, while saying it’s unfounded, debunked, or a right-wing conspiracy. Sound familiar?

They don’t cover anything anymore.

Simple cover/up.

What a tangled mess of crime and scandals .The old saying is, If they put as much effort into being honest that they put into being crooks ,they’d possibly be billionaires

West coast swamp….

Little fish in a giant pond.

More like a little t_rd in a giant cesspool.

Scumbags usually attract and hang with other scumbags.

Interesting that they all have ties to Adam Hill.

Can you imagine what would happen if we didn’t have CCN? The scum that run the Fibune and New Slime would be printing puff piece after puff piece on these guys and Adam Hill and Co. There is only one real reliable news source in this town and it is Cal Coast News

F**K John Belsher

F**K Ryan Petetit White

F**K Adam Hill

And especially F**K any local official who enabled Adam Hill and these crooks to thrive.

Grateful for Velie and her reporting. So tired of this s**t!

Well, tell us how you really feel! hahahah.

you forgot Dawn Ortiz Legg

Ryan is a classic con artist. Walked away from the $38,000 he had promised me simply to not get further involved with him. Glad i did. Shady dude.