DIXON (CBS13) — A woman convicted of fraud for scamming investors with claims she had Hollywood backing to build a movie studio complex in Northern California has been granted early release from federal prison due to coronavirus concerns.
In 2018, 57-year-old Carissa Carpenter was sentenced to six years and six months in federal prison, convicted of mail fraud and lying to a federal agent.
Carpenter claimed to have the support from well-connected people in Hollywood to build a movie studio complex in Dixon, but prosecutors say those figures had little to no involvement in the project and Carpenter used investors’ money to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
As part of her sentencing, Carpenter was ordered to pay more than $3.6 million in restitution after she admitting to scamming investors.
Officials say Carpenter has asked for a release from her sentence multiple times, but the impact of the pandemic on the federal prison in Texas where she is serving convinced U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley to grant her release. Carpenter will now serve two more years in home confinement with electronic monitoring.
According to the judge, Carpenter contracted coronavirus and recovered at the facility in Texas where hundreds of inmates have tested positive and six have died. Judge Nunley noted that Carpenter’s age and health made her high risk. Carpenter has reportedly had nine heart attacks, six pacemaker surgeries, and two blood clot surgeries.