California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Attorneys, Cuesta Title Battle in Deposition of Former Employee

In the long-running civil litigation against developer Kelly Gearhart and Hurst Financial Inc., a former Cuesta Title employee has refused to respond to deposition questions by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

When investors filed suit in 2009, they accused (now) Stewart Title and (formerly) Cuesta Title of aiding, abetting and/or conspiring with Hurst Financial Inc. and Gearhart to defraud  seniors by running illegal investment schemes. The list of plaintiffs includes over 500 investors includes conspiracy, fraud, financial elder abuse and negligence in the eight causes of action. If the allegations against the title companies are true – that the closed escrow, recorded ownership interests and transferred funds in a real estate investment fraud scheme – the losses would amount to more than $73 million.

Kim Bucknell is the employee who has refused to give testimony. In April, Stewart Title and Cuesta Title filed a motion asking the court to give Bucknell immunity from criminal prosecution or to agree to delay the civil trial that is set to start on July 29.

Opposing the motion is Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Goorvitch, who filed his own declaration, stating that granting Kim Bucknell immunity could interfere with current and future criminal proceedings.

Last week, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall denied the defendants’ request for immunity for Bucknell.

Read the original article in CalCoastNews. You can also use the search tool in the California Real Estate Fraud Report to read the numerous previous postings on Hurst Financial, Kelly Gearhart and Cuesta Title.

© Copyright 2007-2018 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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