The owner of a used car dealership in Buffalo, New York was recently charged with several felony larceny and fraud charges after allegedly taking payments in excess of $100,000 from dozens of customers for motor vehicles he never delivered to them. According to a BuffaloNews.com article, the man is also being sued by the state’s Attorney General, for restitution.
According to prosecutors, the owner used the money he had taken from customers to pay $50,000 in restitution for a previous case in which he pleaded guilty to stealing over $500,000 collected from customers for state sales tax. To raise the money, the man reportedly sold customers vehicles he did not own, and in several instances, sold the same vehicle to more than one customer. Prosecutors allege that he informed customers purchasing a motor vehicle from his lot that the vehicle required servicing and would not be available for delivery until a later date. The vehicles were never delivered to customers.
Additionally, customers who wanted to buy a vehicle that was not on the lot were told they would get their vehicle if they made a down payment. Those vehicles were also not delivered. After collecting over $100,000 the dealership abruptly closed, hurting dozens of customers who had made down payments for vehicles never received.
The felony charges could carry a prison sentence from two to seven years. In addition to restitution, the attorney general lawsuit seeks to prevent the owner from operating another used car dealership unless he first posts a bond that would help protect future customers. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each customer that the man allegedly defrauded.
Most of us are trusting individuals, and may think we will never be the victim of a scam or fraud. Unfortunately, many consumers have been taken advantage of by a dishonest car dealer whose practices are unfair and/or deceptive, and it may happen to you. If you have been a victim of car fraud in California, call Howard D. Silver. Mr. Silver can conduct an investigation into your vehicle purchase to help you conclude whether you have a valid claim against a dealership. Call (855) 341-2611 today.