Minister charged with seven felonies for Ponzi scheme

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Owner and operator of Freedom by Faith Ministries LLC pleaded no contest to seven felonies for defrauding nearly 100 victims out of more than $300,000 in a Ponzi-type scheme.

57-year-old Anthony Norman Carta pleaded no contest to one felony count of conducting a criminal enterprise, one felony count of false pretenses of $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, and five felony counts of false pretenses of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.

Conducting a criminal enterprise carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine while false pretenses between $20,000 and $50,000 has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and $15,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved. False pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000 have a maximum sentence of five years and $10,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved.

Carta also pleaded to all charges as a Third Offense Habitual Offender which may double the maximum sentence for each offense.

From November 2009 to July 2013, Carta and Freedom by Faith Ministries promised short sales, mortgage modifications and other real estate scams. Victims were defrauded amounts ranging from $1,000 to $24,000. Carta pocketed the money and did nothing to help customers with their financial troubles.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office launched its investigation in 2013 and filed charges against Carta in 2014 following a series of complaints made to its office.

“This man used deception and his position as a religious adviser to prey on Michigan families on the verge of losing their homes,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “To those who seek to use faith as a means to perpetrate crimes, know this: Our office will hold you accountable.”

As part of his plea, Carta agreed that he would be responsible for paying restitution of $658,626.17.

Carta’s sentencing is scheduled for May 15th in the 6th Circuit Court.

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