MARTINEZ -- A former Orinda real estate broker convicted of stealing nearly $2 million from more than 40 clients to support an opulent lifestyle has been sentenced to 12 years and eight months in prison.
Carl Blake Miller, 49, on Friday received the maximum sentence for his October jury trial convictions on eight counts of embezzlement, filing false documents and forgery. He was ordered to pay back restitution to the victims, who were embezzled directly and through a hard money fund, said deputy district attorney Ken McCormick.
"The victims in this case suffered an extreme financial loss where their lives have been turned upside down," McCormick said. "Now they are looking for jobs in their 60s and 70s because they have no other choice.
"He'd steal from them one day, and the next day transfer the money to pay for Learjets to take his kids on extravagant trips," McCormick said.
Miller, who was arrested in 2011, was convicted of embezzling $1.87 million from his clients, but McCormick says that millions more were lost because of Miller's mismanagement and poor business skills. The embezzlements included $740,000 stolen from his clients at Geneva Real Estate Investments, and $16,000 from an Orinda Boy Scout troop for which he was serving as troop treasurer.
Some of the money was used to build a $3.2 million, seven-bedroom estate near the Orinda Country Club.
"A lengthy prison term is not warranted in light of Mr. Miller's minimal risk to the public," deputy public defender Jeffrey Landau said in an email. "The court's harsh sentence will only serve to keep Mr. Miller from his family and to delay restitution to his investors. Carl Miller is a caring father and productive member of his community; our tax dollars are wasted on his confinement."
Miller's father was the late attorney Harry Miller, who co-wrote "California Real Estate," considered the bible of real estate law. Numerous civil lawsuits are pending against Carl Miller in Contra Costa County court.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.