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October 13, 2021
LANSING - A couple who advertised and took in deposits on an upscale camping experience that was never actually built pleaded no contest and will refund customers as part of their sentencing, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
Last December, Bradley Carlson, 61, and Sandra Carlson, 58, were charged with five counts of larceny by conversion between $1,000 and $20,000 related to the operation of their company, Bella Solviva Inc. The company itself was charged with one count of larceny by conversion between $1,000 and $20,000 and one count of larceny by conversion between $200 and $1,000.
Beginning in 2015, the Carlsons advertised Bella Solviva as a "glamping", or upscale camping, resort that was being built in the Antrim County area. The website and confirmation emails indicated that customers would have the option to receive a refund if a reserved site was not built or not built in time for a reservation.
Despite accepting deposits from 2015 to 2017, never building the resort, and repeated requests for refunds, more than 30 customers were never refunded.
Wednesday before Hon. Robert A. Cooney in Antrim County, the Carlsons were sentenced to two years of probation, during which time they may not engage in any venture capital activities.
Last month, the couple pleaded no contest to three counts of larceny by conversion between $200 and $1,000.
As a term of the plea agreement, the Carlsons were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $29,216.51 to the court by Oct. 18, which was already paid to their attorney's trust account and will go to victims listed in the complaint as soon as the court is administratively able to process the payment.
"Consumers must be able to trust their hard-earned money will be used as intended," Nessel said. "My office remains committed to holding accountable those who don't deliver on their obligations to their customers."
A pretrial conference is scheduled for the company, Bella Solviva, in Antrim County Circuit Court on Nov. 8.