David Noonan, an attorney for eight of the investors who lost everything by putting their faith and savings into builder Kelly Gearhart and lender Jay Miller argued last week in court that the three escrow companies were essential to the men’s real estate investment fraud scheme.
In referring to Cuesta Title, Stewart Title and Stewart Title Guaranty, Noonan said, “They are joined at the hip. They were all mutually interested in maximizing their returns.”
Gerard Kelly, the attorney representing Stewart Title of California, said his clients did nothing except to close escrows as they always had done and that “There wasn’t a single trace of a paper trail to suggest any misconduct in this case.”
Mack Staton, Cuesta’s attorney, pointed the finger of blame to Gearhart and Miller as being the sole individuals who committed the fraud. Gearhart and Miller have declared bankruptcy and are neither parties nor witnesses to this $3.9 million trial.
Jay Miller, the former principal of Hurst Financial, has been convicted of fraud. Kelly Gearhart has pleaded not guilty to the federal fraud charges against him and has not yet been tried.
Read the original article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. There are also numerous articles about Kelly Gearhart, Jay Miller and Hurst Financial that can be found by searching the California Real Estate Fraud Report.