The finance manager of an auto dealership in Monroe, Louisiana, was charged with forgery and theft in connection with a scheme to steal down payments from customers. These alleged white collar crimes came to light when a customer attempted to obtain the registration, license plate and payment booklet for a vehicle she purchased.
According to the police affidavits used to obtain search warrants, in January of 2017, the customer wrote a check for $10,000 to the dealership as the down payment. During the next several months, the woman repeatedly contacted the dealership to obtain papers for the vehicle.
According to reports, the defendant was her point of contact, and he kept giving excuses about why the documents were not forthcoming. When the woman contacted the finance company, she was told that the company did not have a loan in her name or with her social security number. Seven months after the purchase, the customer finally received the license plate and registration, but no payment book.
In November, police stopped the truck because the license plate was incorrect. According to state records, it was allegedly a plate from a 2015 Ford.
The customer then contacted the Investigative Division of the Louisiana State Police. The Investigative Division said that the registration provided to the customer was a forged document. Further investigation revealed other transactions involving $10,000 down payments, with the first such sale involving a cash down payment.
Police allege that the suspect kept the cash down payment from the first transaction and used subsequent down payments to cover the theft. The defendant has been charged with theft and forgery.
The defendant faces two serious charges, but he is nevertheless entitled to be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the evidence, potential defense strategies and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining an acquittal or a favorable plea agreement.
Source: The News Star, “Hixson manager accused of forging papers, stealing $10k,” Ashley Mott, Dec. 13, 2017