Crime - Sacto 911

Hearing for Carissa Carpenter in Dixon movie studio case postponed as evidence pours in

The fraud case against Carissa Carpenter, 50, has been postponed to allow more time for defense attorneys to review the significant amount of evidence involved.
The fraud case against Carissa Carpenter, 50, has been postponed to allow more time for defense attorneys to review the significant amount of evidence involved. mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

The court case against Carissa Carpenter, whose ostentatious pursuit of developing a movie studio in Dixon and other locations led to her indictment on fraud charges, has been postponed because of a mountain of evidence that has been collected, court papers indicate.

Carpenter, 51, had been scheduled to appear in federal court in Sacramento on Thursday for a status conference, which would have been the second hearing in her case since she was indicted Oct. 30. But her public defender received a postponement until April 23, according to an order signed Monday by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.

“The government recently provided approximately 68,000 pages in discovery,” a stipulation and order filed Monday states. “Defense counsel requires additional time to review discovery with the defendant and pursue investigation.”

Carpenter has pleaded not guilty and remains free on a $25,000 bond. She faces 32 felony counts alleging that she defrauded investors of $5 million during her 17-year effort to build a massive movie studio project in Dixon or other far-flung locations.

She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted in the case, which stems from a 2013 Sacramento Bee investigation that found she had left behind a trail of unpaid bills, court settlements and angry investors, and that her promises to construct a studio never resulted in anything being built.

Court documents do not indicate the nature of the 68,000 pages of discovery, but Carpenter’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Benjamin Galloway, said at her first court appearance in November that he already had received 7,500 pages.

The Dixon proposal was touted as a $2.8 billion complex that was to have opened in October 2015 and followed previous efforts to build in South Carolina and other locations in Northern California.

Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.

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