DIXON (CBS13/AP) — It’s no Hollywood ending for the town of Dixon.
It turns out a billion-dollar movie studio that promised to put the small town on the map was nothing more than empty promises.
Carissa Carpenter, the woman feds say is behind the con, has been indicted on federal charges. The massive movie studio she promised to build in Dixon, and before that half-a dozen other towns, never will get built.
Feds say she stole $5 million “using money from investors for her own personal expenses and to support her extravagant lifestyle.”
The 32-count indictment charges Carpenter, 51, with mail fraud, wire fraud and three counts of making a false statement to a government agent.
Carpenter began pitching a Northern California film studio in 1997 and claimed to have invested hundreds of millions of dollars of her own money in the project and to have support from influential Hollywood producers and directors, prosecutors said.
The proposed sites for the studio included Dixon, Lathrop and the former naval base on Mare Island in Vallejo.
Former Dixon City Councilman Michael Ceremello brought Carpenter to town. Despite the federal charges now, he still believes her Dixon movie studio plan could have worked
“It’s more than a business failure, this is someone they’re saying that was perpetually lying,” he said. “Well, I guess that comes with the business. It’s difficult to find financing so there’s probably a little bit of exaggeration.”
CBS13 was there last year as Carpenter peddled promises to the council with letters of intent from landowners she said would sell her 300 acres for her movie studio.
She never did pay them.
Carpenter also floated big Hollywood names–like George Lucas.
CBS13’s Steve Large asked Lucas about her last year.
“I mean everyone wants to build studios, but it’s basically a very bad idea,” Lucas said.