New woes for embattled developer
A federal convict who broke parole while supervising an embattled Grass Valley building project has pleaded guilty to charges connected with another real estate project.
While Harvey Keith Smith, 76, was facing parole charges in connection with a project at 150 Hughes Road. He continued to violate the conditions of his parole by drumming up money for another project in Vacaville, the Nut Tree Airport Business Park, charges alleged.
The Grass Valley Community Services Center project that Smith oversaw has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and allegations of more than $1 million missing, according to court records.
“While he was out pending sentencing, he continued to violate his condition of supervised release,” with the Vacaville project, said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Arguelles.
Smith pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of associating with a convicted felon, falsified reports and unauthorized travel out of the district, said Arguelles. Smith had a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.
Smith is expected to be sentenced Feb. 4 and could face up to 32 years in prison. But sentencing guidelines and the prosecutionOs recommendation call for only 18 months. The former Alta Sierra resident remains in Sacramento County Jail.
Smith’s attorney, Christopher Wing, of Sacramento, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Smith was arrested in March for the Hughes Road allegations and violating conditions of his original parole from a prison sentence for a Maryland scheme that bilked investors out of $2.9 million. Smith was initially charged here with diverting funds from the project.
Diversion of funds and other charges were dropped in August after Smith pleaded guilty to associating with a convicted felon, and for making a false statement on a car loan application for a Lexus.
Even while he faced those charges Ñ and after release from jail by an order of federal Magistrate Judge Peter Nowinski Ñ Smith was pitching a Vacaville project to investors.
Arguelles said Smith did not admit to any fraud, saying it was strictly business.
According to court records, Smith, acting as president of AESV Inc. had ongoing negotiations with Solano County for development rights of airport property next to Nut Tree Airport. An agreement was canceled in April by the Solano County Board of Supervisors, court records show.
But Smith continued to promote the project, traveling out of his district in violation of his release and claiming he was still the “primary developer” of the airport project, according to court records.
Court records allege Smith made repeated trips to Oakland in June, July and October. He traveled to Gilbert, Ariz., in October, trying to solicit $4 to $6 million from would-be investors.
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