Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jury finds Florida car dealer guilty in “out-of-trust” case

Former Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealer faces up to five years as a guest of federal taxpayers.

The former owner of Big Oaks Buick Pontiac GMC Inc. in Bartow, Florida, was found guilty by a federal jury in Tampa on 11 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit both, reports the Lakeland Ledger.

John Giovanetti, was charged with the theft of $2.5 million by having employees file fake documents to receive financing from SunTrust bank.

Mr. Giovanetti now faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy and up to 30 years for each count of the wire and bank fraud counts. He also faces a fine of $2.25 million.

The former dealer was convicted of conspiring with two former employees, the dealership controller and the general manager, to obtain funding from SunTrust to purchase vehicle inventory in 2004, according to the indictment.

During several months in 2004, at least 12 fraudulent documents were submitted by the dealership to SunTrust, listing at least 44 vehicles for purchase that had already been sold.

The money obtained from the bank was used in "the day-to-day operations of the dealership and to support the owner's lifestyle," the indictment read.

Before the trial, the dealership controller and the general manager both agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and testified against their boss.

Their plea agreements stipulated that the controller would forfeit $56,500 and the general manager $85,000, their respective total salaries for 2004 which represent "the minimum amount of proceeds obtained by the defendant as a result of the offense."

The Pontiac-Buick-GMC store was eventually bought at auction by Michael Holley.

Mr. Holley paid $3.6 million for the GM franchise and its assets.


1 comment:

bsherman said...

What a "great" dealership. This type of stuff happens all the time without anyone knowing it. Anyone ever hear about the dealerships that were purposely putting faulty honda alarms on cars for an extra $17 a month ontop of the already high car lease payments? Or was that just my dealership. This is why people get auto loans besides for just because they have bad credit, these dealerships are shady and I wouldnt want to put my own money into it right away haha even though I wind up paying for the car anyway. If anyone wants a pretty good reccomendation, apply to several online car loan companies such as 1carcash.com, lendingtree, autocreditfinder...some of these places hook you up with a lender who knows trusted dealers that arent shady like this. 1Car specializes in Florida car loans for anyone living in Florida. Who wants to deal with these shady dealers....2.5 million, jeeez!!