Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A Newport Beach man accused of posing as a fire marshal and charging small businesses across Orange County for inspections is scheduled for his next court date Friday, and he could eventually be sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Brian Lee Carsten, 36, is facing four felony counts each of second- degree burglary, extortion by force or threat, and forgery of an official seal, according to Roxi Fyad of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Carsten is also charged with four misdemeanor counts of fraudulently personating fire personnel, and two misdemeanor counts of possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order, Fyad said. Carsten was arraigned Tuesday.

If convicted on all counts, Carsten faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and eight months in state prison, according to Fyad.

Carsten is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Department N-12 of the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

Carsten is suspected in four incidents that occurred in August and this month at businesses in Huntington Beach, Anaheim and Santa Ana.

In three of the incidents, Carsten wore a uniform and identified himself as a fire marshal before charging the business owner $209 for a fraudulent inspection of the business and providing a bill and receipt on Cal-Fire letterhead, Fyad said.

Carsten is also accused of entering State College Distributors at 1620 S. State College Blvd. in Anaheim, representing himself as a fire marshal, and performing a fraudulent inspection of the business on Sept. 12. Carsten then threatened the victim with a citation if he did not pay for the inspection, Fyad said.

Carsten allegedly returned to the business the following day with forged invoices and receipts and collected two payments of $209 for each lot from the victim, who reported the suspicious circumstances to the Anaheim Police Department later that week, Fyad said.

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, Fyad said.

On Friday Carsten was accused of possessing two firearms in violation of a domestic violence protective order from Los Angeles and was arrested by Anaheim police.

Anyone with additional information on the case or who believes they have been a victim is asked to contact District Attorney Investigator Tom Conklin at (714) 347-8496.

—City News Service

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