PONTIAC, Mich. – A Detroit man who defrauded about 100 people in a $660,000 Ponzi-type scheme was sentenced Wednesday to nine to 40 years in prison, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Anthony Norman Carta, 57, the owner and operator of Freedom by Faith Ministries, defrauded about 100 people by promising short sales, mortgage modifications and other real estate scams, according to authorities.
People who sought Carta's help in resolving mortgage problems were defrauded of amounts between $1,000 and $24,000, police said. Carta pocketed the money and didn't help his customers with their financial troubles, according to police.
The racketeering scheme robbed victims of nearly $660,000, authorities said.
Charges were filed against Carta in 2014 after victims made a series of complaints, officials said.
"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."
Authorities said Carta pleaded no contest to conducting a criminal enterprise, false pretenses between $20,000 and $50,000, and five counts of false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000.
As part of his plea, Carta agreed to be responsible for paying $658,626.17 in restitution, officials said.
He was sentenced to nine to 40 years in prison -- more than double the maximum sentence because he is a habitual offender. His sentences will run concurrently, and he has received credit for 1,530 days served.