Local News

Triangle businesswoman to plead guilty to fraud Wednesday

Posted November 21, 2012 6:28 a.m. EST

— Carolyn Grant, a well-known Triangle businesswoman who has run unsuccessfully for Congress and Raleigh mayor, is expected to plead guilty to fraud Wednesday in a real estate investment scam.

Grant will plead guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court, her defense attorney Woody Webb Sr. said. 

According to court documents, Grant lied to investors, telling them their money was used on real estate projects when in fact it was used for her personal and business expenses and to pay back investors. 

Webb said Grant got caught up in the real estate boom six years ago and couldn't repay investors as the market collapsed at the start of the recession.

"Quite frankly, Carolyn Grant was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place with her investors, and she made some profoundly bad decisions," Webb said in a statement earlier this month. "Now, she is stepping forward and taking responsibility for her actions. She will accept her punishment from the federal court and will do everything in her power to fully reimburse her investors."

The mail fraud involved misrepresenting information about a real estate project on Louisburg Road in a June 2007 mailing to investors and potential investors, he said.

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.

Grant promised high returns, but many investors said they never got any money back and that they were misled about where their money was going, authorities said last year.

Webb said Grant has admitted that some of the money from investors has been misspent.

Grant surrendered her real estate license and the license to her Raleigh-based real estate investment company, Omega Property Group, a year ago.