Man in identity case ruled unfit for trial

Baltimorean charged with assuming aspects of Woodstock resident

Howard County

November 16, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 32-year-old Baltimore man accused of assuming the identity of a Howard County resident with the same name this year - claiming he owned the other man's company and home, and withdrawing money from his bank account - was ruled not competent to stand trial yesterday.

During a brief hearing yesterday, Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure committed Frederick Scott Carter, who is being treated at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Carter, who claimed during the proceedings that he is president of SunTrust Bank and that he is being housed at Springfield "under false pretenses," objected to Leasure's ruling and repeated, "There's no oath here," as deputies handcuffed him and led him from the courtroom.

After the hearing, Carter's father, Fred Carter, said his son, known as "Scott," has been diagnosed with mental illness but is a "bright young man."

"He really believes in his mind that he's done nothing wrong," the elder Carter said.

The case has left the 37-year-old victim, also named Frederick Scott Carter, fearful for his safety and that of his family, prosecutor Mary Murphy said. The victim, who lives in Woodstock and attended yesterday's hearing, declined to comment on the case.

According to court files, the defendant visited the Woodstock house where the victim and his wife, Lori, live, about a month before the couple noticed that funds were missing from their money market and savings accounts.

Officials at SunTrust later told police that a man matching the defendant's description showed them his driver's license, withdrew money and ordered checks and an ATM card on the Woodstock Carters' accounts. He also mentioned the name of the victim's company, Performance Bindery and claimed that it was his, according to court papers.

Officers who viewed bank surveillance tapes discovered a strange coincidence: While the defendant was in the Ellicott City bank branch allegedly ordering checks on the Woodstock Carters' accounts, Lori Carter sat two seats away conducting banking business, according to court papers.

In total, the defendant is accused of withdrawing more than $8,000 from the Woodstock Carters' accounts over a 10-day period from April 30 to May 9, according to court papers.

Since his May 12 arrest, the defendant has papered the court with requests; a thick file in Howard Circuit Court is filled with numerous handwritten requests for subpoenas and information. In those, Carter claims to own SunTrust Bank and Patriot Homes and at one point asks for permission to make a call to Ghana "to breathe the oil machines or there will be a tremendous explosion."

Those claims stem from a "delusional disorder," according to a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation in the file. The report also labels Carter "presently dangerous to others."

"His delusions are persecutory and grandiose, and the defendant becomes very agitated when these are challenged," the evaluators wrote. Carter had been observed kicking in doors and assaulting his father during previous hospitalizations.

At the hearing yesterday, Murphy asked that Leasure recommend keeping Carter in a secure unit at Springfield. Leasure agreed, noting Carter's "dangerousness" to himself and the community.

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