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FBI: Car dealership defrauded banks to boost sales, reap profits

Last week, the FBI raided a Charleston car dealership in search of evidence for allegedly defrauding lenders by submitting fabricated loan papers in order to facilitate the business to sell more cars and bring in additional earnings to its employees.

According to court documents, the FBI agents raided the premises of the dealership on Savannah Highway in West Ashley and took into custody the desktop computers, records and loan applications. They seized more than 50 boxes of paperwork involving vehicle sale deals in last five years. Over that period, according to the documents submitted by FBI, an estimated 50 to 60 cars per month were sold by the dealership out of which as many as 30 sales were forged and allegedly involved in the fraudulent schemes in some way.

The dealership employees were allegedly involved in producing fake proof of residency forms for customers, altering the loan applications for borrowers with bad credit records and doctoring customer salary certificates to inflate a buyer's income. They mislead banks by recording the manufacturer's discount as a buyer's down payment. The scheme influenced several lending institutions to inadvertently sanction sub-prime car loans to buyers who had poor credit scores and wouldn't have been entitled for bankrolling otherwise.

No one has been arrested in the case, so far and a case is pending in the court.

The outcome from convictions in federal fraud crimes can be serious. Based on the facts and charges in a case, fraud crimes may involve a number of state and federal laws with a broad range of punishments. If you are charged of a white collar crime or arrested in a fraud investigation, you may seek help of a legal professional who can provide a proactive defense. Although it's the federal prosecutor's burden to prove all the elements of the crime under state laws, there is always room for the defense to present the other side of the story.

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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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Rock Hill, SC 29730

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