Today’s story is that of a reported scam that involved franchise dealership managers stealing customers’ down payments for their own personal use.
According to a WWL report, Lawrence “Mike” Thornton, 46 and Bryan Collins, 47 out of the New Orleans area have been arrested and booked on theft charges totaling over $100,000. The two men worked as managers at Premier Honda and reportedly stole customer down payments over a period of “several years.” The men were fired last month when the dealership management discovered the crime.
As the story goes, the men reportedly stole down payments and keep the transactions off the books. To cover up the alleged illicit transactions, the men reportedly used “pyramid scheme tactics” to get more money from car shoppers to cover up the previous theft. The transactions were reportedly only processed thought the controller at the dealership only when new money was available to cover up previous stolen down payments. The scheme reportedly ended when the men ran out of money to cover their tracks.
Premier Honda President Jim Evans stated to news media any victim of this scheme would be “made whole” by calling the store. During your experience in retail auto, what other similar cases have you heard about involving dealership theft?