Car Dealership Owner and Employee Plead Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges

Anderson County Car Dealership Employees Plead Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges in Federal Corruption Case

wire fraudA car dealership owner in Anderson County, SC, along with one of his employees, have pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges as part of a federal corruption case that began in September 2012.

Joe Gibson, 57, from Spartanburg, and Billy John Mills, Jr, 45, from Huntersville, NC, pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud from an indictment issued two years ago. Gibson pleaded guilty on Thursday, January 23rd, while Mills pleaded guilty on Wednesday, January 22nd.

Prosecutors called the business “riddled with illegal practices” and claimed it fostered a “culture of corruption.” Reportedly, through deceptive advertising between 2006 and 2008, Gibson and his colleagues promised low monthly payments on vehicles, and that customers could exchange vehicles for new ones at no cost. However, both of these were untrue – Gibson’s business locked customers into loans and refused to let them adjust the suddenly inflated monthly payment, and would not let them exchange vehicles. Many customers ended up owing thousands of dollars on used vehicles that were worth substantially less.

Additionally, Gibson and his coworker were accused of falsifying loan and credit applications, as well as inflating the number of vehicles the business sold every month, in order to get incentives from the American Suzuki Motor Corp.

Several other people have been convicted on wire fraud and other federal corruption charges related to the case. All of them worked in the company’s advertising, sales, and finance departments.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2008, and the following year about 500 irate former customers sued the business. A federal court allowed the plaintiffs to divvy up $2.7 million from a fund established by the American Suzuki Motor Corp, the former company’s insurance carrier, and various lenders.

All nine of the defendants in the case, including Gibson and Mills, will be sentenced for the wire fraud charges at a later date.

Federal Wire Fraud Charges and Defense

The law broadly defines wire fraud as devising or intending to devise a scheme to defraud others of money or property under false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises by means of electronic communications, or “wires.” Because they typically involve interstate matters, most wire fraud cases are considered federal crimes with convictions carrying heavy fines, prison sentences of up to 20 years, or both.

Our federal criminal defense lawyers handle wire fraud cases involving:

  • Fraudulent insurance claims
  • Bond issuances and investment schemes
  • Falsifying loan applications
  • Check fraud schemes
  • Bribes or kickbacks
  • False advertising or misrepresentation in sales transactions

Transferring money to an offshore or international bank may be legitimate and legal transactions; however, tranferring money to an offshore or international bank account to hide a crime can lead to serious federal criminal charges.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Wire Fraud and Other Federal Charges

The Strom Law Firm, LLC has the experience that you need to defend your wire fraud charge. Our experience and familiarity with prosecutorial techniques provide the basis for experienced and effective legal representation. We will fight hard to have your charges reduced, or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case as well the most effective way to proceed with your case. 803.252.4800

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