Feds to Prosecute Serra Nissan Employees For Involvement in Fraud Scheme
Eight former Birmingham, Alabama Serra Nissan employees stand accused by the federal government of falsifying documents so that car sales and loan approvals could be obtained at increased rates. The alleged fraud occurred at the car dealership from August 2010 through October 2013, and it is believed to have been committed in order to boost the number of vehicle sales so that increased personal profits could be received by an assortment of Serra Nissan employees. Jeffrey Green, the former finance manager of Serra Nissan, has been charged with failure to file an individual tax return and conspiracy. While former sales manager for Serra Nissan, Gerald Shepard was charged with submitting a falsified tax return, bank fraud and conspiracy. The federal government believes that both Green and Shepard utilized illegal means to conduct various types of fraud in order to obtain auto loans and other benefits that would not have otherwise been approved. Furthermore, six additional salespeople, finance managers and sales managers were also charged for their part in the scheme.
The Serra Nissan Car Dealership Fraud Scheme
According to a U.S. attorney “these defendants are charged with conspiring to defraud customers and financial institutions who trusted the dealership to provide truthful information during the vehicle financing process.” The FBI got involved after it became clear that the defendants had defrauded financial institutions so that loans were fraudulently provided to customers through the Serra Nissan dealership in Birmingham, AL. In addition to manipulating the system and submitting falsified documents with the intent to fraudulently increase profits earned at the expense of others, the defendants also completely ignored federal tax laws by either not submitting personal income tax returns, or by submitting personal income tax returns with false information.
The fraud scheme was fairly complex and involved the quoting of inflated monthly vehicle payment amounts to customers, which allowed Serra Nissan finance managers to add gap insurance and warranties to the auto loan agreements without customer knowledge. By using large loan amounts the amount of commissions to be received by employees increased. The means utilized to fraudulently obtain auto loans that would not have been approved otherwise included:
- Directing sales people and finance managers at Serra Nissan to misrepresent proof of customers’ residency so that fraudulent documents could be submitted to financial institutions who provided auto loans;
- Creating and falsifying documents with inflated income amounts to financial institutions;
- Listing additional car accessories that were not actually a part of vehicles so that loan amounts would be increased by the lending financial institution; and
- Presenting buyers to financial institutions who were able to qualify for car loans because of false information, though in reality the buyer would not have qualified for the loan received.
Now that the fraud scheme has, been revealed the Birmingham Serra Nissan car dealership has had to conduct damage control in order to reassure their local community and buyers that they still have the best interests of consumers in mind. Currently, it remains to be seen what effect the prosecution will have on the loans already obtained by car purchasers. When you need legal representation in a legal suit involving fraud or other criminal act, you should contact white collar criminal defense attorney at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in South Miami, Florida today.