Carson Sanders caught

By Julie Fann and Lesley Hughes
star staff
jfann@starhq.com;lhughes@starhq.com

  A Carter County man wanted in Tennessee and Arizona for customer fraud exceeding $1.6 million was arrested this week in Albuquerque, N.M.
  Carroll Carson Sanders, who resided at 525 Golf Course Dr., owned East Tennessee Motorsports at two different locations -- 1510 Stateline Rd. and 238 East Elk Ave. He disappeared Jan. 10 of this year after posting $10,000 corporate bond at the Carter County Jail following his arrest on two counts of theft over $10,000.
  The Carter County Sheriff's Department, Elizabethton Police Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol were involved in the search for Sanders.
  "Beginning Nov. 15, 2003 over a course of time we developed information indicating several local customers, and one from Hickory, N.C., paid money up front for dully pickup trucks, Ford motors, other GM motor parts, and GM racing engines. The products were bought sight unseen based on description and there was no delivery. The products were not produced and the money was never refunded," said THP Special Agent Dan Bowman after Sanders disappeared.
  Sanders first court date was scheduled for Feb. 6, 2004 in General Sessions Court, and he never appeared.
  Before moving to Tennessee in May 2003, Sanders and his son operated a motorsports business in Arizona, near Tucson. According to Arizona Assistant Attorney General Paul Eckerstrom, Sanders was arrested on May 2, 2003 by the Oro Valley Police Department and charged with three counts of fraudulent schemes and artifice, which are Class Two felonies in Arizona.
  The monetary total he allegedly swindled from customers in Arizona surpassed $1.6 million, according to the OVPD. Detective A. J. "Buddy" Novak of the OVPD said at the time of Sander's disappearance that, since learning of the charges and warrants in Carter County, Sanders would not be eligible for a plea bargain as was previously planned.
  Approximately 30 victims filed reports against Sanders with Eckerstrom.
  Some reports filed against Sanders in Elizabethton and Carter County include:
  - A report filed Jan. 14, 2004 by Penny Woodson who alleged he paid Sanders $9,700 for a used dump truck he never received that was supposedly located in Arizona.
  - A report filed by Nicholas Floyd Street Jan. 14, 2004 that claims Street paid Sanders "$375 for a manifold for a 1995 GMC Sonoma. He advised that the part would be shipped on the 6th of January. When Mr. Street checked back on the date, the business was closed and they would not take any calls," the police report reads.
  - A report filed at the Carter County Sheriff's Department Jan. 10, 2004 by Joseph Daniel Holsclaw that states that Holsclaw gave Sanders a wire transfer of $8,410 to purchase a 2003 Dodge 4x4 truck.
  "Mr. Sanders never delivered the vehicle and told Mr. Holsclaw that he had to go to Georgia to pick it up and he had problems getting someone to go pick it up. Mr. Sanders kept giving Mr. Holsclaw different reasons he could not deliver the vehicle and the last contact Holsclaw had with Mr. Sanders was Jan. 5. Mr. Sanders never came up with the vehicle and kept the money given him," the police report reads.
  Sanders opened his first East Tennessee Motorsports location on July 7, 2003 at 1510 Stateline Road. During his grand opening of the shop he said that he planned to open up two shops in Johnson City and another shop in Elizabethton, which was located in the Old Paty Building, leased to Sanders by Builders First Choice.