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State Hits Auto Dealer with Restraint Order

Friday, 10 November 2017 02:49
A Kansas auto dealer has been sued by the state for violating state consumer protection laws and is temporarily banned from doing business.Justin Bogina and his business, Auto Acceptance Center Corp., of Topeka, have been temporarily ordered to refrain from conducting business related to the sale of property or services within the state of Kansas. The state’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Bogina and his company alleging multiple and recurring violations of Kansas consumer protection law over the past several years and continuing to the present. Among the allegations is that in 2014 Bogina advertised he would donate $100 per vehicle sold during a specific time period to the memorial fund established for Topeka Police Corporal Jason E. Harwood, who was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 7, 2014. However, the defendants did not track the sales for the purpose of making the donation, and no donation was made until April 2016, after the attorney general’s office launched its investigation. The lawsuit also alleges the defendants represented the sale of vehicles to be “as-is,” took possession of a trade-in vehicle without paying the proper balance due and sold vehicles to customers without providing certificates of title, all in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

Police Arrest Ex-Dealer's Wife for First Wife's Murder

Friday, 20 October 2017 20:26 Written by
On the morning of May 26, 1990, Marlene Warren opened her door to a very unusual guest. It would be the last time the dealer’s wife would open her door to anybody. A woman stood there, dressed as a clown in full make-up, holding flowers in one hand and a gun in the other. The clown shot Marlene Warren in the face. She died two days later. The murder would be unusual anywhere, but especially in Wellington, Fla., a Palm Beach suburb so high end that the Warrens’ neighborhood was built around an airstrip for the locals’ private planes. As is usually the case, police started looking at the victim’s husband, Michael Warren. There were rumors he was having an affair with Sheila Keen, the woman who handled repossessions for his store, Bargain Motors. Authorities were unable to link the pair conclusively to the murder, even after featuring the case on television’s “Unsolved Mysteries.” But many of those involved never gave up seeking justice for Marlene Warren. In 2014, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit reopened the homicide investigation. Witnesses were re-contacted and additional DNA analysis was conducted. Authorities finally felt they had enough evidence to take to a grand jury. The jury indicted Keen and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was taken into custody on Sept. 26 in Washington County, Va., where she was living with her husband – Michael Warren. The pair married in 2002 and had been running a local restaurant since a few years after he was released from prison after serving two years of an eight-year sentence following his wife’s murder. He had been convicted of odometer tampering and insurance fraud, but not murder. Those charges arose from some very atypical business practices investigators found at Michael Warren’s store and rental car operation. For example, at almost all buy-here, pay-here dealerships, the more payments customers make on their installment contracts, the lower the amount outstanding becomes. At Bargain Motors, the amount customers owed actually increased with each payment. Then there was the matter of a car from Michael Warren’s rental operation – a white Chrysler LeBaron that was reported stolen the day of the murder. The same car was reported leaving the Warren’s home after the shooting. It turned up in a nearby parking lot. The last driver left behind a clown wig. The Florida attorney general’s office eventually moved to seize Michael Warren’s businesses. Unfortunately, the decision took so long that he managed to get rid of his inventory. But the state still had the more than 200 finance contracts to collect on. Terry O’Loughlin was working in the attorney general’s organized crime division, handling lots of high-end foreclosures from the heyday of the Florida drug scene. His bosses tapped him to oversee the finance end of the case and that’s how he found himself in the car business. O’Loughlin knew nothing about running a buy-here, pay-here operation, but he quickly learned to respect those who did. The first lesson that he learned was customers often don’t want to pay. O’Loughlin had one advantage over the average dealer – the Florida Highway Patrol served as his repo agents. O’Loughlin would watch the junkyards for the cars. And he would search the classifieds for cars being sold without titles. Other customers wanted to make payments and improve their credit. O’Loughlin was happy to help them out. Then there were some unusual encounters, such as the woman who had a special non-monetary payment relationship with Warren. O’Loughlin had to tell her it was now a cash-only business. The state wound down the operation after two years. O’Loughlin came away from the experience with a new interest in the car business. “It was an awful lot of fun,” he said. He became the lead automotive specialist for the attorney general’s office. After several years, O’Loughlin decided he preferred the other side of the table and now serves as director of compliance at Reynolds and Reynolds, appearing as a regular speaker at numerous dealer events. The state of Florida is seeking the death penalty for Keen. O’Loughlin said he was glad when he heard about Keen’s arrest. He hopes Michael Warren follows her to prison. “He’s a devious fellow,” O’Loughlin said. “From beginning to end, a real slime ball.”

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Dealer Faces Felony Charges for Missing Taxes

Monday, 02 October 2017 00:12
A San Antonio car dealer was indicted by the Texas Comptroller for allegedly failing to remit between $20,000 and $100,000 in motor vehicle taxes and between $2,500 and $30,000 in title and registration fees collected on 105 vehicles between October 2015 and July 2016.Carlos Brun, the owner of National Auto Credit, is charged in two separate indictments with failure to remit motor vehicle tax collected, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, and misapplication of fiduciary property, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years.The case is pending prosecution

Man Admits to Auto Finance Fraud

Friday, 15 September 2017 12:40
A Kansas man was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison for using stolen identities to obtain car financing. The sentence is in addition to 20 months he has already served.Reu Charles Chamberlain, of Wichita, Kan., pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. In his plea, he admitted he used a stolen identity at Eddy’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Wichita to qualify for a $48,902 loan to buy a 2016 Dodge Challenger. At Midway Motors in Wichita, he used a stolen identity to qualify for a $44,746 loan to buy a 2015 Dodge Challenger.
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