James Hurst Miller, 67, a North County lender who was a middleman for developer Kelly Gearhart, has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his participation in the Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of area investors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Miller had agreed to testify against Gearhart, who was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison last July.
Gearhart was a prominent developer and former Atascadero Citizen of the Year who began committing fraud in 2004, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Miller helped Gearhart raise money from investors with his firm, Hurst Financial Corp. for large developments, such as Vista Del Hombre, a Paso Robles golf course. Eventually, both men misused the investors’ money, spending it on themselves.
Read the original article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
There are many earlier postings about this case that you can find by searching the California Real Estate Fraud Report.