Dearman arraignment delayed; Gray awaits trial for conspiracy

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

BARTLESVILLE — A Washington County District Court appearance by former Bartlesville investment counselor Larry Joe Dearman has been rescheduled for next month, court officials said last week.

Dearman, 41, is facing multiple charges of fraud and embezzlement in connection with a series of investment transactions made while he was a senior representative at a locally-based firm, The Focus Group Advisors. The transactions in question took place over a period of nearly three years years between 2009 and 2012.

In June, Dearman was ordered to stand trial on three counts each of embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretense. Dearman also was bound over on four counts of conspiracy involving his former associate, Bartlesville real estate agent/businesswoman Marya Gray.

Dearman, who has been held in Washington County jail on $150,000 bond since his arrest last October, had been scheduled for a local court appearance concerning “disposition status” last Wednesday. Recent court records indicate Dearman has now been ordered back to court Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

Contacted last week, the Tulsa attorney who represents Dearman — John Dunn — said his client’s arraignment had been passed until Aug. 12.

Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 25, Gray is scheduled for district court trial on multiple counts of conspiracy.

During his previous court appearance last month, Dearman continued to maintain a not guilty plea and was set for a disposition hearing on July 23. The court record in the Dearman case for June 3 stated: “…Dunn believes they will have an agreement with the state.”

Last Thursday, the attorney declined to comment on the specifics of any plea deal. Dunn referred all questions about negotiations in the case to “Mr. Kessler” — which is assumed to mean Gary Kessler, a Texas attorney who has represented The Focus Group. Attempts to contact Kessler have proven unsuccessful.

The Washington County charges against Dearman and Gray involve approximately $350,000 worth of investments, which represent only a fraction of the claims made against pair.

Gray, 50, and Dearman have been listed as defendants in more than a dozen civil lawsuits in Washington County. There have been two breach of contract/fraud suits filed against them in Osage County District Court. In addition, numerous Osage County investors are included as parties in the other Washington County civil cases.

Federal authorities with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claim Dearman and Gray masterminded fraudulent schemes “that raised at least $4.7 million from more than 30 of Dearman’s advisory clients.” Dearman is a former Barnsdall resident and church music minister.