Case # 16NF2636
Date: September 18, 2017
MAN SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS IN JAIL FOR POSING AS FIRE MARSHAL AND CHARGING SMALL BUSINESSES FOR FRAUDULENT INSPECTIONS
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to six months in jail for posing as a fire marshal and charging small businesses across Orange County for fraudulent inspections.
Brian Lee Carsten, 37, Newport Beach
Pleaded guilty on Sept. 15, 2017, to the following counts:
(5) Extortion by force or threat
(5) Fraudulently personating fire personnel
(1) Possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order
Circumstances of the Case
- On Aug. 31, 2016, Carsten entered Beach Auto Sound in Huntington Beach while wearing a uniform and identifying himself as a fire marshal.
- The defendant charged the victim $209 for his fraudulent inspection of the business and provided a bill and receipt on Cal-Fire letterhead.
- On Sept. 12, 2016, Carsten entered State College Distributors in Anaheim, represented himself as a fire marshal, and performed a fraudulent inspection of the business.
- The defendant threatened the victim with a citation if he did not pay for the inspection. Carsten returned to the business the following day with forged invoices and receipts and collected two payments of $209 for each lot from the victim.
- The victim reported the suspicious circumstances to the Anaheim Police Department (APD) later that week.
- On Sept. 16, 2016, Carsten conducted similar fraudulent inspections at Newport Awning and Imperial Auto Service, which are neighboring businesses in Santa Ana. The defendant extorted $209 from each business and provided receipts with forged Cal-Fire logos.
- The victims in Huntington Beach and Santa Ana saw media coverage of the fraudulent inspection in Anaheim and reported the crime to their local police departments.
- On Sept. 23, 2016, Carsten was found in possession of two firearms in violation of a domestic violence protective order.
- Carsten was arrested by APD.
APD, Anaheim Fire & Rescue, Huntington Beach Police Department, Huntington Beach Fire Department, and Santa Ana Police Department investigated this case.
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Kirk, Special Prosecutions Unit.