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Former Raleigh political candidate sentenced to 6.5 years in prison

Posted May 3, 2013

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— A former Raleigh political candidate and businesswoman who pleaded guilty last year in connection with a real-estate investment scam was sentenced Friday to six-and-a-half years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Carolyn Grant was also ordered to pay nearly $13.6 million in restitution to more than 65 victims and must report to prison by June 30. She could have received up to a 20-year sentence.

In court Friday, Grant said she'd like to "work and repay as much as possible." Calling her statement a "pipe dream," U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle said he doesn't think the victims will "get even a penny."

Grant, 63, pleaded guilty last November to a felony count of mail fraud in the scam. According to court documents, she lied to investors, telling them their money was used on real estate projects when it was used for her personal and business expenses and to pay back investors.

The North Carolina Secretary of State's Office issued a cease and desist order against Grant in August 2011 after allegations surfaced that she failed to repay millions of dollars she borrowed from friends and associates for real estate deals and personal loans.

Jim Good, one of the fraud victims, attended Friday's sentencing and called Grant an "accomplished liar, cheat and thief" who deserved the maximum sentence.

"I thought I was investing in a project in Banner Elk where she was going to build a bunch of town homes," he said. "That was our retirement money. We really trusted her … we thought we were safe, we really did."

Carolyn Grant Former political candidate sentenced to 6.5 years in prison

"She’s had opportunities in the last six months to make restitution and she never did it," Good added. "She’s supposedly making $6,000 a month, and we never saw any of that."

Outside court Friday, Grant declined to comment. Woody Webb, her senior defense attorney, said his client is "incredibly remorseful."

"She was obviously raising money from new investors to pay off old investors, and she feels bad about it. I think she got so far behind the eight ball she couldn't get herself out. And desperate people do desperate things," Webb said. "She admits she lost her way, and she would like to reclaim a productive life."

Grant surrendered her real estate license and the license to her Raleigh-based real estate investment company, Omega Property Group, in 2011. She ran unsuccessfully for Raleigh mayor in 1999 and Congress in 2002. 

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  • LastSon1981 May 6, 2013

    I went to school with her son and he had some shade tree ways. Now I know were he got them from.

  • superman May 6, 2013

    Our court system has become a job. 13 million and she got 6 years. She probably still has most of the money hidden somewhere.

  • scubas55468 May 3, 2013

    How come Dennis Hagemann got sentenced to 12 years for conning $1 mil and she got 6.5 years for conning $13 mil? Perhaps she spent her stolen money for lawyers and Hagemann had a public defender? Not fair!
    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/9869238/

  • happymom May 3, 2013

    "sounds like things got out of control and run amuck. At least she was trying to pay folks back and not steal away to the bahamas somewhere."

    No go on that. What she did is called a pyramid scheme and it is highly illegal. She knew that and did it anyway. I highly doubt that she was trying to "pay people back" as a matter of conscience- it was more likely an attempt to keep the scheme going so she can lure in more victims.

    Madoff did the same thing.

    She should have gotten a much, much longer sentence.

  • corey3rd2 May 3, 2013

    Does her politics really matter? The simple fact is she's a vile human being who would say anything in order to feed her greed. She's just an evil person who ought to be deported from Raleigh when she gets out of prison in two weeks or so.

  • webrockiv May 3, 2013

    poor Wilfrey

  • mayhem May 3, 2013

    Free Carolyn Grant!

  • archmaker May 3, 2013

    come on people! really? us vs them on everything?
    she was a democrat when she ran for mayor and a republican when she ran for senate.
    obviously, her political affiliation was "opportunist"

  • downtowner May 3, 2013

    White collar crime, where you can get off with a slap on the wrist. I've seen pot smoking tree huggers get longer prison sentences. Sheesh

  • dwntwnboy2 May 3, 2013

    "I wager she was a DemocRAT!! Fits the mold!!"- shows what YOU know, she was a big business Republican, seems your "mold" doesn't fit so well now does it? :-)

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