The 34 victims of a criminal theft case levied against an Alden couple and their “glamping” resort at Antrim County’s Jordan River Valley will soon receive restitution in excess of $30,000, a report said.
Bradley and Sandra Carlson pleaded guilty to the three misdemeanor charges of larceny-by-conversion before Robert Cooney, 86th District Court Judge. They were accused to be con artists who promised a luxurious camping experience and extorting money from dozens.
The judge accepted the Carlsons’ plea deal with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and set the date for the couple’s sentencing on October 13. They could spend up to one year in prison and be subject to financial restitution.
Cooney spoke out about the appeal and trial rights that Carlsons lost when they accepted the plea agreement with the state prosecutors. The judge also stressed the criminal consequences of accepting no-contest pleas.
Cooney stated that he had sufficient grounds to accept the plea deal because evidence showed the defendants used the contested funds for personal purposes and not on the campground project.
Kristen Stinedurf (State Attorney), prosecuted the case.
Lynsey Mukomel, AG press secretary, stated that “the facts presented in court will speak themselves.”
Shawn Worden, a Traverse City attorney, defended the Carlsons’ business.
Worden stated during Wednesday’s videoconference hearing that he had almost $30,000 of agreed-upon repartition already placed in a trust account and available for transfer to the court.
Cooney stated that victims had waited too long and that it was time for payment.
The Carlsons will need to submit a pre-sentence report that evaluates them and their criminal and personal histories and makes a recommendation for sentencing. The judge gave six weeks for sentencing.
Cooney stated, “I’m certain this report will take a little longer than most,”
Bella Solviva Inc., a failed business, announced plans to open a luxury camp resort with treehouses, novelty villas, and luxury tents. Throughout 2017, dozens of “glampers”, who could have been from all walks of life, paid hundreds to even thousands of dollars to reserve stays at the resort.
Mary DeAngelis, Oxford, paid $634 for a deposit towards a two-bedroom treehouse with a bath and a plan to take her daughter on a weekend getaway in August 2017. After finding the site vacant in the early summer, she decided not to pay the balance.
DeAngelis, who was visiting Antrim County with her family from Lewiston, said she drove there to see it.
DeAngelis stated that he found the signup but couldn’t get in. This was 60 days before their supposed arrival.
She connected to Zoom and viewed Wednesday’s online hearing. She felt vindicated afterward.
“This was a small victory,” DeAngelis stated. “We will receive the restitution. I am also interested in sentencing. They took advantage of many people.”
Records show that the resort was built on 229 acres of land in Alden, near Torch and Intermediate lakes.
The statute of limitations for larceny in state law is six years after the date of the transaction. According to records at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bella Solviva, Inc., was incorporated on June 13, 2015.
According to state records, the business was declared bankrupt on July 15, 2018.
Federal records indicate that the Carlsons filed bankruptcy in September 2013; a case dealt with in the Eastern District of Michigan’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court.