Crime - Sacto 911

Dixon movie studio fraud case postponed to April

Carissa Carpenter
Carissa Carpenter Manny Crisostomo

Carissa Carpenter’s fraud case has been pushed back another four months as the defense continues reviewing evidence and the would-be Dixon film studio entrepreneur deals with family health issues.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley on Thursday set the next hearing in her case for April 7. Carpenter faces a federal indictment that charges she defrauded investors of $5 million during her 17-year quest to build a movie studio project and lied to FBI agents investigating her case.

She was indicted on Oct. 30, 2014, but her case has been delayed by what lawyers say is a mountain of evidence that includes nearly 70,000 pages of documents.

Thursday’s brief hearing was the first in the case since July, and lawyers told Nunley that Carpenter, who has complained frequently of health issues, has had three heart surgeries since then.

The judge also was told she is currently on the East Coast helping care for two granddaughters following the death last month of her daughter, Caroline.

Caroline Valenzuela, 29, died Nov. 27 following an illness, according to social media posts by family members.

Carpenter is free on $25,000 bail and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted in the case, which stems from her years of fundraising and efforts to build a movie studio in Northern California and elsewhere.

Her last proposal was for a $2.8 billion studio in Dixon, but that effort collapsed following an investigation by The Sacramento Bee that found she had raised millions of dollars over the years but had a history of unpaid bills, liens and court judgments and had never built anything.

Sam Stanton: 916-321-1091, @StantonSam