A San Luis Obispo California jury awarded the former champ $2 million Tuesday against an escrow company he charges helped developer Kelly Gearhart defraud him.
Liddell had invested $2 million with Gearhart for four development lots but he says the titles were never transferred to his name before the funds were released from escrow by Cuesta Title Company.
Warren Paboohian, Liddell’s attorney, accused Cuesta Title escrow officer Menalie Schneider of having a conflict of interest due to her close relationship with Gearhart and his wife. She had also invested $50,000 of her own money in one of the projects.
Liddell also claims his signature had been forged on various escrow documents.
According to local paper, the Fresno Bee: “Gearhart defrauded hundreds of investors. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. But because Gearhart declared bankruptcy, those who sued focused on Cuesta Title and their related companies, Stewart Title of California and Stewart Title Guaranty.”
Of course, this all could have been avoided if Liddell had chosen to work with a licensed mortgage originator.
Liddell had a prolific career in the world’s premier MMA organization, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He won the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2005 by defeating fellow MMA legend Randy Couture by knockout. He then defended the title four times before losing it to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in 2007.
He retired from active competition in 2010 and is now VP of business development for the UFC.
Chuck Liddell made a career of separating other men from their consciousness with his infamous overhand right, so one fraudster may be breathing a sigh of relief that the only thing he will lose out on is a couple (million) dollars.