Anthony Carta, a 53-year-old Detroit resident who formed a religious-based nonprofit and is the founder of Freedom by Faith Ministries, was arrested on Wednesday April 3. Carta allegedly bilked Detroit residents out of $300,000 in a mortgage scam by using faith to entice innocent victims, according to a news article at Mlive.com.
More than 100 people were duped in the scam according to reports, which indicate that Carta used religion to gain the trust of individuals with mortgage issues. Carta allegedly took the $300,000 from those who had confidence that he would help them, and pocketed the money for his own use according to Attorney General Bill Schuette, who called Carta’ scheme “deplorable.” Carta is charged with five counts of false pretenses $1,000 to $20,000, one count of false pretenses $20,000 to $50,000, and one count of conducting a criminal enterprise. All are felony charges; false pretenses $20,000 to $50,000 is a 15 year felony, the remaining five counts are five-year felonies. Conducting a criminal enterprise is a 20 year felony.
Carta has a website on which he sells faith-based books for $11 each. The Attorney General’s Office said that in addition to not assisting those who gave him money with their mortgage issues, Carta hosted the website, which advertised both his books and his mortgage assistance program, but did not hold regular faith-based gatherings.
In 2011, Schuette says that Carta hired a salesman to sell his mortgage modification service. The salesman later began to suspect that Carta was not providing clients with the service he advertised, and contacted the AG’s office. Bill Schuette’s office said that the woman salesman had hired Carta with assistance in modifying her own mortgage, but that she lost her home and the faith leader never contacted her bank.
Schuette also called Carta a “scam artist,” saying that “Using the guise of faith to trick innocent people into entrusting their money to a sham organization is deplorable.”
At the time of news reports, it was not known if Carta had a defense lawyer. His arraignment was scheduled for Thursday in Southfield 46th District Court.
Mortgage fraud is a serious criminal offense in the state of Michigan, leaving those convicted facing up to 20 years in prison. The prosecutor must prove certain elements for a person to be found guilty of mortgage fraud. While you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, it is critical to work with a skilled and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney to ensure good results. A capable lawyer will challenge the evidence, investigate the facts, and use his skill, experience, and knowledge to provide a vigorous and effective defense. Contact an attorney if you have been accused of mortgage fraud or any white collar crime so that all options for protecting your freedom, reputation, and future can be explored.