WRAL Investigates

Raleigh council candidate goes to federal prison

Posted August 11, 2011 2:01 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2011 3:45 p.m. EDT

— Federal marshals took a Raleigh City Council candidate into custody Thursday after he was sentenced to seven months in prison for violating his parole on a 2000 fraud conviction.

Lent Carr II, 37, acknowledged that he violated the terms of his parole but told Senior U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard that he needed to stay out of prison to attend to his ailing mother and to campaign for the District C seat on the City Council before the October election.

Carr pleaded guilty in April 2000 to federal arson and bank and mail fraud charges and spent several years in prison. An appeals court later vacated the arson plea due to a technicality.

Howard found that he violated his parole by pleading guilty in February to simple assault and by failing to meet with his parole officer or with a mental health counselor.

Defense attorney Susan Umstead said the assault case was a domestic dispute involving Carr's stepson, and since Carr has separated from his wife, he no longer has contact with the stepson.

Carr felt compelled to assault the stepson, Umstead said, because he thought the boy was threatening Carr's mother, who has numerous health problems and is in a wheelchair.

A federal prosecutor noted that Carr bit the boy during the altercation.

Carr "just dropped the ball" on meeting with the parole officer and mental health counselor, Umstead said, noting that Carr also has health problems, including a personality disorder.

Carr told Howard that he has turned his life around since leaving prison. He now does community outreach and works with other ex-convicts, he said.

Prosecutors expressed concerns that Carr has been soliciting donations to his campaign by misrepresenting himself to the public. They said it was clear that the probation office could not help him any further.

Cherie Poucher, executive director of the Wake County Board of Elections, said Carr's name would remain listed as a Democrat on the ballot unless a voter in District C files a complaint with the board within 10 days.

A WRAL News investigation in May found holes in Carr's campaign resume.

The biography on his campaign website notes he has business administration and advanced career degrees from Cumberland County College in New Jersey. A school spokeswoman told WRAL News that Carr was enrolled but there's no record of any degree.

He also refers to himself as “Dr. Lent Carr,” citing an honorary doctorate from Amherst Theological Seminary in Madison Heights, Va. An Amherst representative said the seminary is a “correspondence Christian education program that deals with prisons,” and Director Oscar Blanchard said Carr completed a basic Bible class, but there's no record of any doctorate.

Carr's profile on LinkedIn.com touts his experience as a law clerk at a federal correctional institute from 1996 to 2006, in which he supervised 21 employees. However, it doesn't mention that he was an inmate at the time. He was released from prison in January 2009.

His Facebook profile lists an MBA from Duke University, but it misspells the name of the Fuqua School of Business. It also says he graduated from Fayetteville State University in 1996, but a spokesman said the university has no record of him ever attending the school.

In addition to his federal convictions, Carr has state convictions for obtaining property by false pretenses and passing worthless checks.