MARTINEZ -- An Orinda man called a "mini-Madoff" after he embezzled nearly $2 million from real estate investors and stole thousands from a Boy Scout troop was convicted Friday, a prosecutor said.
Carl Blake Miller, 49, will be sentenced Nov. 15 after a jury found him guilty on eight felony counts, including embezzlement, filing false documents and forgery, and all enhancements for the excessive amount of money he stole, a prosecutor said.
"I've been prosecuting white-collar crime in Contra Costa County for more than 10years, and this is probably the largest loss I've seen," said deputy district attorney Ken W. McCormick, who said many of his clients called Miller a "mini-Madoff" after Bernie Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
Miller, who once lived in a $3 million Orinda mansion, chartered a jet for a family vacation and funded private school educations for his six children, now sits in County Jail in Martinez without bail.
Miller's public defender, Jeff Landau, said he and his client are disappointed by the verdicts and will appeal.
"The truth remains that Carl Miller is not guilty of these crimes,'' said Landau in an email. "While the jurors have had their say, Mr. Miller clearly is not a danger to the public; he should be released from jail and reunited with his family."
Miller is the son of the late attorney Harry Miller, who with Marvin B. Starr wrote "California Real Estate," a book that many consider the bible of California real estate law. His passion for extravagance drove him to embezzle $740,000 from his Geneva Real Estate Investments clients and steal $16,000 while serving as treasurer for an Orinda Boy Scout troop.
"His father raised his child with a platinum spoon in his mouth, and he's never been without material goods," McCormick said. "As a result of that, he would lie, cheat, steal, forge to maintain that lifestyle."
Prosecutors said Miller filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in September 2010. He was arrested in July 2011, but his family posted his bail, and he was free until his conviction Friday. His trial last about 2 ½ weeks and included 18 witnesses and a massive paper trail, McCormick said.
"(On sentencing day), many of the victims say they want to address the court as to how their lives have been turned upside down," said McCormick. "Numerous people who lost money from his negligence and mismanagement are older, retired people."
The Boy Scout troop got its money back -- Miller is accused of withdrawing $10,000 and $6,000 on two occasions from the Scouts to cover massive credit card and other bills, and then returning it. But many of his other victims, many from the Bay Area, say they may recover only a fraction of their money.
Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.