Car fraud can lead to criminal charges in addition to civil suits for consumer fraud as a recent criminal prosecution in Georgia demonstrates.
Police apprehended two employees of Newman, Georgia Nissan franchised dealer. The charges are that they fraudulently altered car purchase documents and forged customers signatures in order to overcharge customers.
A customer of the dealership, Iryna Alfieri claimed that she did not purchase any add-ons or extended warranties when she acquired her Nissan in September. However, these items were still included as part of the deal. Police discovered that the electronic signatures on that portion of the paperwork differed from those on the rest of the documents.
Newnan police wrote in its report that “Ms. Alfeiri [sic] stated that she has tried to get this matter reversed with the dealership[,] however they have not been inclined to address the issue.”
In December, Lindsay Collins, another customer, asserted that the dealership refused to accept the return of her vehicle, which she was attempting to return under the lemon law. She also alleged that her paperwork included forged signatures, and police identified an “apparent difference” in the signatures she pointed out.
On the same day, Justin Steele, another customer, claimed that he had purchased a 2018 Ford F-150 XLT from the same dealership. The dealership, however, listed the vehicle as a Ford F-150 Platinum on the loan application. This could be a part of a practice known as “power-booking,” in which dealers misrepresent the trim level of a vehicle, inflating its value to obtain higher rates from financial institutions. In this case, the difference between the two vehicles was more than $14,000.
The two men accused of this fraud appeared in court for their arraignment hearing where they pleaded not guilty. Continue reading ›