Lansing, MI - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has announced that the owner and operator of Freedom by Faith Ministries LLC – Anthony Norman Carta, 57, of Detroit – pleaded no contest late Wednesday to seven felonies for his role in a racketeering scheme as a habitual offender.
His plea was made before Judge Michael Warren in the 6th Circuit Court in Pontiac.
Carta pleaded no contest to:
- One felony count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise – a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or $100,000 fine;
- One felony count of False Pretenses, $20,000 or more but less than $50,000 – a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or $15,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved (whichever is greater); and
- Five felony counts of False Pretenses, $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 – a maximum sentence of five years and/or $10,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved (whichever is greater).
Carta also pleaded to all charges as a Third Offense Habitual Offender, and therefore his sentence may be double the maximum sentence typically permitted for each offense.
From November 2009 to July 2013, Carta and Freedom by Faith Ministries defrauded approximately 100 victims out of more than $300,000 by employing a Ponzi-type scheme promising short sales, mortgage modifications and other real estate scams. Individuals who sought his assistance in resolving mortgage problems were defrauded of amounts ranging between $1,000 and $24,000. Carta pocketed the money and did nothing to help his customers with their financial troubles.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office launched its investigation in 2013 and subsequently 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,” 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 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, 2019 before Judge Warren in the 6th Circuit Court.