Michael Porter is charged with seven counts of felony fraud and seven counts of felony theft, which could mean years behind bars.
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -
Investigators spent two years building a case against Valley homebuilder Michael Porter. The criminal investigation is so complicated that investigators gathered 40,000 pages of evidence - dealing with bank accounts, multiple victims and millions of dollars.
The charges against Porter are serious: seven counts of felony fraud and seven counts of felony theft, which could mean years behind bars.
"This allegedly happened in May 2005 through June of ... it looks like August of 2008," said a Valley judge during Porter's initial appearance in court Wednesday.
CBS 5 Investigates began looking into Porter three years ago, as the complaints began to stack up.
"The subcontractors were calling us saying that they weren't getting paid, that we owed them a lot of money," said Howard Weber, Porter's former business partner at Woodbridge Custom Homes.
Weber told CBS 5 Investigates during a 2009 interview that they built high-end, lavish homes in North Scottsdale. And the company did well during the boom. But then money started disappearing.
"We found out that he was taking money and putting it into his own account," Weber said.
CBS 5 Investigates followed the money trail to Sin City, where sources say Porter dropped thousands at lavish hotels and casinos like: The Venetian, Caesars Palace, MGM and The Wynn - back in 2007 and 2008. That was around the same time contractors said Porter was telling them he had no money to pay them.
"Mike wants to be rich and famous," said Mike Pile of Pinnacle Window and Doors. "I mean, he lives the lifestyles of the rich and famous."
They said Porter flaunted his money.
"Nice houses, nice cars, nice clothes, trips to Las Vegas, private planes to go to Vegas," Pile said.
Porter's attorney said there is no money.
"He does not have any liquid assets," she said during court Wednesday.
But Porter did post $50,000 bond after court.
Porter, a Canadian citizen, will be required to surrender his passport during his next court appearance Oct. 8.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
An Arizona elementary teacher is facing drug charges after Lake Havasu City police say she was selling prescription pills. The News-Herald reports that Stefanie Courson was arrested Friday following aMore >
Stefanie Courson was arrested Friday following a month-long undercover operation.More >
Arizonans who have individual health insurance plans that don't meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act won't be allowed to renew them after Jan. 1 despite a call from President Barack Obama forMore >
The state Department of Insurance announced Friday that is was urging the state's health insurance companies to instead renew existing plans that don't comply with the new law early.More >
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:55 AM EST2013-12-08 14:55:24 GMT
Fans clung onto hope as long as they could, waiting for a miraculous Sun Devils comeback. "We got the fourth quarter," Dalton Lucht said. "After this, we're a fourth quarter team." Another quarter didn'tMore >
The Sun Devils still have the PAC-12 South crown and as the saying goes, there's always next year.More >
Friday, December 6 2013 9:33 PM EST2013-12-07 02:33:31 GMT
A naked woman died early Saturday morning after being hit by a car in the middle of Thomas road overnight in Phoenix.Phoenix police spokesman Lt. Steve Roser said the 37-year-old woman was lying in theMore >
A woman who fled the scene of a hit-and-run crash that left a naked woman dead was sentenced Friday to 10 days in jail and three years of probation.More >
Friday, December 6 2013 9:20 PM EST2013-12-07 02:20:41 GMT
To shoot, or not to shoot, wasn't a question for a Peoria man who said he was about to be attacked by two vicious dogs. But, the owner of the wounded animal feels her neighbor was too quick to pull theMore >
To shoot, or not to shoot, wasn't a question for a Peoria man who said he was about to be attacked by two vicious dogs. But, the owner of the wounded animal feels her neighbor was too quick to pull the trigger on her family pet.More >
Arizona remains among the top three states in the nation for immigration-related prosecutions despite a drop in such prosecutions in the state. The Arizona Daily Star reports that half of all criminalMore >
half of all criminal defendants and 97 percent of petty-offense defendants in the state's federal courts are prosecuted for immigration violations.More >