Local News

Four Charged In Durham Small-Business Loan Scandal

Posted March 21, 2006 5:49 a.m. EST

— Durham police have charged four people in connection with a five-year-old fraud case involving small-business loans.

Kathy Marie Fenner, 42, of Sunshine Road in Burgaw; Anita Fenner Bennett, 39, and James Leroy Bennett II, 41, both of Dangerfield Drive in Raleigh; and Carlton Olander Clark, 43, of Centra Villa Drive in Atlanta, were each charged with felonious conspiracy. Fenner and the Bennetts were also charged with obtaining property by false pretense in excess of $100,000; and Clark was charged with obtaining property by false pretense.

Investigators said Anita Bennett directed a small-business loan program that distributed loans totaling nearly $830,000 to 23 recipients to operate businesses in low-income areas of the city -- many of which did not exist, authorities said. Bennett and her firm had been contracted by the city of Durham in 1999 to run the federal program.

Clark was charged with conspiracy after receiving two $35,000 loans through the program. Holland's investigation revealed that funds from one of those loans were funneled back to Kathy Fenner and Anita Bennett.

Anita Bennett was arrested Tuesday morning in Raleigh and brought to Durham, where her bond was set at $50,000. Warrants are on file for the three remaining suspects, but they have not been arrested.

The city of Durham is still trying to collect some of the money it lost.