Douglas Lee Carter, 63, Marco Island, Florida, who posed as a billionaire and a real estate tycoon, was arrested on a felony warrant charging him with scheming to defraud three people in separate real estate deals in Collier County, Florida. According to media reports, Carter was “behind many real estate deals on Marco Island that prompted a 2007 indictment involving 31 people – homeowners, mortgage companies, appraisers, real estate agents, bankers and “straw buyers” – who would artificially inflate home prices and then pocket the difference. Many of the homes went into foreclosure.” Carter was already being held in the jail on $30,000 bond stemming from a prior arrest on unrelated worthless check charges when deputies served him with the warrant.
A judge set Carter‘s bond at $150,000 on the new charges during a court hearing, bringing his total bonds to $180,000, detectives said.
The latest charges against Carter stem from a scheme spanning from Dec. 5, 2005, to May 15, 2008. They said Carter purchased six homes in Collier, Florida from the three victims. Using the down real estate market as leverage, detectives say Carter asked the victims to provide him with cash at closing to finance other deals. In exchange for their money, he issued them second and third mortgages. Carter told them he needed the money to purchase other properties and they would be earning interest on their money. Carter took the proceeds, but never paid the victims, detectives said. The only attempts to pay the victims were with worthless checks. Detectives said he issued $680,000 in worthless checks to the victims.
Further investigation by detectives revealed that Carter did not have the funds to cover the checks.
The Collier County Sherriff announced the recent charges.