Trial date set in real estate-renter fraud case

A trial date has been set for the former Anna Maria Island vacation real estate agent who allegedly pocketed rental deposits and double-booked vacation homes without providing adequate refunds.

Michael Carleton, 61, of Bradenton, was charged in November 2013 with unlicensed real estate activity, a third-degree felony. He posted a $1,500 bond and was released the day of his arrest.

His trial will be held June 6 at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1115 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, according to court documents.

Calls and messages for Carleton from The Islander were not returned.

According to court documents, Carleton was under investigation by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate from March 5, 2013, to May 7, 2013, following a complaint filed by a Massachusetts man.

The investigation found Carleton, formerly of Coast Line Rentals, was advertising properties for rent on Anna Maria Island and requesting deposits be made to reserve the rentals.

A day before renters were scheduled to arrive, usually from out of state, they would reportedly receive a letter stating the property was unavailable due to damage and a refund would be sent by mail. For the most part, the investigation found, the renters did not receive a refund.

Other complainants allege Carleton could not be contacted after paying deposits or, at times, he would only agree to partial refunds, which frustrated renters hoping to recoup more of their money.

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce said it fielded numerous complaints about Carleton’s alleged practices, while the Holmes Beach Police Department received more than 60 complaints.

The state suspended Carleton’s license in March 2013.

On May 7, 2013, HBPD turned the investigation over to the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Postal Service. Their review is still ongoing.

3 thoughts on “Trial date set in real estate-renter fraud case

  1. JL Rodriguez

    Don’t think this will do much good, we were never able to recover our monies from the bad check. Or any of our rental fees, basically we gave three vacationers free vacations. Unfortunately, this makes me not trust any of the rental companies.

    1. TKP

      I hope you will try Anna Maria Island Accommodations. Mike & Sue Brinson are the owners. I have a relative who works for them and I know them personally. They are wonderful, honest people and you will have a great experience.


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