Federal authorities charged prominent Raleigh businesswoman Carolyn W. Grant with one count of mail fraud on Tuesday, about two years after her spurned investors met with state authorities claiming they were defrauded.
Grant has signed a plea agreement admitting she defrauded investors of millions of dollars, according to both the U.S. Department of Justice and her attorney, Woody Webb Sr.
Webb said Grant will likely make her first court appearance within 30 days.
Grant, a former chairwoman of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, faces the possibility of several years in jail. She is also expected to be ordered to pay restitution to her investors, though exactly how much remains a point of contention.
Webb said he and his client believe the amount Grant owes is roughly $4 million.
“Some people are claiming more than we think they are entitled to,” he said. “And some people aren’t entitled to anything, that’s what our contention is.”
Jim Good, a Grant investor who was awarded a judgment against her of more than $1 million, said he and other investors believe the $4 million figure is too low.
“We know that’s not accurate,” he said.
Good said he and other investors were also disturbed by media reports on Tuesday that Grant is out of the country, concerned that she wouldn’t return for her first court appearance. Webb said Grant is scheduled to leave the country on Friday but has every intention of being in court. He declined to say where she was traveling to.
Grant borrowed $7 million or more from dozens of friends and acquaintances between 2006 and 2010. Some of the loans were personal loans, while others were for real estate projects that her company, Omega Property Group, was involved in. The mail fraud occurred in June 2007 and was related to a real estate project on Louisburg Road in Raleigh, Webb said.
Good was among about 50 Grant investors who were on a conference call last week with Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bragdon, who is prosecuting the case. Good said he’s concerned that not all of Grant’s investors knew about the call, and thus won’t document their losses with authorities ahead of her sentencing. He is encouraging all investors to write the judge ahead of the sentencing.
Bragdon told those on the conference call that they would also be able to tell their stories to the judge before Grant is sentenced.
“Oh, I will definitely speak at the hearing,” Good said. “When she’s sentenced, I’ll be there with bells on.”