ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE
Case # 16NF2636
Date: September 18, 2017
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.
Defendant: 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
- 180 days in county jail
- Three years of formal probation
- Ordered to pay restitution
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.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Michelle Van Der Linden,Spokesperson