Company behind failed "glamping" experience in northern Michigan pleads no contest to larceny

The company behind a failed glamping experience in northern Michigan that defrauded would-be customers out of money for reservations that were supposedly refundable pleaded no contest to charges of larceny, the attorney general said Monday.

Bella Solviva Inc., which was owned by Bradley and Sandra Carlson out of Antrim County, faces sentences of fines, costs, and restitution after pleading guilty to a felony count of larceny by conversion up to $20,000, and one misdemeanor count of larceny by conversion up to $1,000.

Both Bradley, 61, and Sandra, 58, were already sentenced to two months of probation and must pay $30,000 in restitution in October. 

"The victims in the case were lied to and taken advantage of, and my office will not stand for businesses that defraud their customers and steal their money," Dana Nessel said. "Consumers must be able to trust their hard-earned money will be used as intended." 

Bella Solviva advertised its glamping experience as an upscale camping destination built in a secluded part of Antrim County in northern Michigan. Customers that visited the website and made reservations received confirmation emails that indicated the customers would have the option of a full refund if the site that was selected was not built in time.

But between 2015 and 2017 when more than 30 customers made reservations, none were refunded.

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The tourist destination was advertised as the state's "first and only true Eco-responsible, green, glamping destination" on the company's Facebook page.

The Carlsons were sentenced on Oct. 14 and were ordered to not engage in any future "venture capital activities."

The company's sentencing date is Dec. 13.