Carissa Carpenter, the woman who peddled the notion of building a huge movie studio in Northern California for years before being indicted on charges that she spent more than $5 million in investor cash on herself, has won a slight change in the conditions under which she remains free on bail pending trial.
The 52-year-old Carpenter, who has been free on $25,000 bail since her federal indictment Oct. 30, had been ordered to obey a strict series of pretrial restrictions, including regular testing for drugs and alcohol and not having contact with any potential victims or investors in the case.
But a stipulation between prosecutors and her federal public defender states that “all of her tests have been negative, and travel to and from testing has presented a hardship in light of Ms. Carpenter’s health issues.”
The stipulation, filed Friday in federal court in Sacramento, removes the requirement for such testing and was signed Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan.
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Carpenter, who spent 17 years traveling California, Utah, Texas, South Carolina and other states trolling for investment dollars, has blamed her health issues repeatedly for financial difficulties she has faced, which include $1.4 million in court-ordered judgments and a lawsuit settlement from bounced rent checks, breached contracts and unpaid medical bills since 1990.
Carpenter has claimed she has been the recipient of numerous pacemakers and has survived various forms of cancer.
She faces 32 felony counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and making false statements to federal agents, and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Carpenter has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to return to court for the next hearing in the case April 23.
Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.