PONTIAC, Mich. - A Detroit man accused of defrauding about 100 people in a $300,000 Ponzi-type scheme pleaded no contest Wednesday to seven felonies, 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.
UPDATE: Carta sentenced
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.
From November 2009 to July 2013, Carta defrauded the victims out of more than $300,000, officials 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 is set to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. May 15 at Sixth Circuit Court.
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