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Judge agrees to postpone Dixon movie studio fraud case to December

Carissa Carpenter was indicted in October on charges that she defrauded investors of at least $5 million during her 17-year quest to raise money for a movie studio.
Carissa Carpenter was indicted in October on charges that she defrauded investors of at least $5 million during her 17-year quest to raise money for a movie studio. Sacramento Bee file

A federal judge agreed Monday to postpone the fraud case against Carissa Carpenter until December because lawyers say the proceedings against the would-be movie studio impresario have become so complicated.

Carpenter, who had been pitching plans for a $2.8 billion Hollywood-style studio in Dixon until a Sacramento Bee investigation of her financial background scuttled the effort in 2013, was indicted in October on charges that she defrauded investors of at least $5 million during her 17-year quest to raise money for a studio.

A status conference had been scheduled in the case in federal court in Sacramento for Thursday morning, but prosecutors and Carpenter’s federal public defender filed a stipulation Monday asking U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley to postpone the case until Dec. 17.

“Discovery produced in the case is voluminous and includes a recent production of over 4,000 additional pages,” court documents filed Monday state. “The defense is in the process of reviewing and analyzing discovery, and has retained the services of a forensic accountant to assist in that process.”

Nunley agreed to the postponement in an order that said failing to allow a continuance “would deny counsel reasonable time necessary for effective preparation.”

A February court filing indicated that prosecutors had turned over 68,000 pages of discovery to the defense at that time.

Carpenter, 52, has been free on $25,000 bail in the case, which could send her to prison for up to 20 years if she is convicted on charges of fraud and lying to FBI agents.

She pleaded not guilty in November and her case has been postponed twice since then. Carpenter, who has been living in Southern California, filed a waiver with the court July 15 asking to be excused from further routine court appearances.

She was indicted after The Bee investigation revealed she had raised millions from investors nationwide while leaving behind years of unpaid bills, court judgments and liens. Her efforts to create a massive movie studio project at several Northern California locations and in South Carolina never resulted in anything being built.

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