Michael and Phyllis Bleckley, the Richland, Ga., couple accused of cheating a local family out of millions of dollars, were released from jail Friday, jail records show.
The couple left the Muscogee County Jail about two days after their bonds were lowered from $1.5 million each.
During a Wednesday hearing, Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Doug Pullen reduced Michael Bleckley’s bond to $100,000, and his wife Phyllis Bleckley’s to $50,000.
The couple, who owns the Warm Springs restaurant The Bulloch House, had been in jail since Aug. 19. They were arrested after being accused of acting as broker-dealers of MKB Capital Management Inc. to take more than $3.4 million from the Kim family, who own Mikata Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Columbus. The Bleckleys claimed to have invested the family’s money with good returns, and even met with the Kims quarterly to present financial reports, said Chief Assistant District Attorney Alonza Whitaker.
The prosecutor said when the Kims tried to collect their money, the Bleckleys changed their company name and said the money had gone into a software research firm expected to bring in a return of $18 million.
Whitaker had told the judge at a Sept. 4 hearing that Michael Bleckley had a pilot’s license and that records showed he had $1 million in an account in England. The Bleckleys’ lawyer, Frank Martin, has said neither is true and has accused the prosecutor of making “false” and “reckless” statements that misled the trial court to assess an “unreasonable” and “excessive” bond.
Both Bleckleys have been indicted on several charges including conspiracy to commit theft, failure to register as a broker-dealer and violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, as well as seven counts each of theft by taking and selling unregistered securities.
The Bleckleys’ trial is scheduled for Oct. 6.