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.
Sunday, April 20 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-04-20 14:01:18 GMT
Authorities are investigating a deadly plane crash. Officials tell TV 5 a small plane went down Saturday afternoon in a field in Shiawassee County. Two people are confirmed dead. Officials are still onMore >
Airplane crashed onto Mid-Michigan field Saturday.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 6:15 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:15:00 GMT
Michigan State Police Troopers of the Tri City Post are investigating a fatal motorcycle crash. The crash occurred at 3:55 p.m. on April 18. The motorcycle was traveling at a high speed when the driverMore >
Michigan State Police Troopers of the Tri City Post are investigating a fatal motorcycle crash.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 12:06 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:06:58 GMT
Cell phone video captured a fight between two girls in front of Bay City Central High School Thursday. "She turned and punched me in my forehead, so then we just got in a big fighting session," claimedMore >
Cell phone video captured a fight between two girls in front of Bay City Central High School on Thursday.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 10:00 AM EDT2014-04-19 14:00:16 GMT
A local business manager was stunned to see her most recent water bill to the tune of $18,000. Kim Haken runs the "Columbus Laundromat" in Bay City. When she called the city to ask about the problem,More >
A local business manager was stunned to see her most recent water bill to the tune of $18,000.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 7:35 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:35:21 GMT
AT&T has announced it's hiring right here in Mid-Michigan. It's the latest positive development for downtown Saginaw in recent weeks. Saginaw resident Linton Patrick was excited about the possibilityMore >
AT&T has announced it's hiring right here in Mid-Michigan.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 10:12 AM EDT2014-04-19 14:12:08 GMT
Flames ripped through a local home late last night and investigators believe it was no accident. It happened late last night on the corner of North Granger and Madison in Saginaw. Firefighters brokeMore >
Flames ripped through a local home late last night and investigators believe it was no accident.More >