Dealer Employee Accused of Stealing $100K From Customers For Cars Never Delivered
Scamming people out of money for cars they never get seems foolhardy when you work at a well-known dealership.
For customers, auto dealerships work via a fairly basic principle: you (or a bank) hand over money in exchange for a car. One dealer has reportedly violated this fundamental concept, though, with police accusing an AutoNation employee of pocketing money for cars that were never delivered.
As reported by Automotive News, police arrested finance manager Carlos Ravelo, 51, from AutoNation Honda Miami Lakes over the matter. It's alleged that the finance manager took over $100,000 in exchange for vehicles, despite never producing the cars in question.
Authorities charged Ravelo with multiple crimes, totaling up to an extensive rap sheet. Charges included one count of an organized scheme to defraud $50,000 or more, one count of organized fraud of $50,000 or more, and two counts of second-degree grand theft. Further charges concerned eight counts of third-degree grand theft, one count of theft from the elderly, and four charges for writing worthless checks.
The matter came to the attention of authorities when customers reported having bought vehicles from Ravelo for cash, only to never receive the cars themselves, nor a refund. The matter is being investigated by the Miami-Dade Police Department, as well as AutoNation Honda itself, according to general manager Armando Ibanez. According to police reports, the dealership head told authorities that Ravelo was "selling vehicles that belong to [the] Honda dealership as if they were his private vehicles."
AutoNation has not confirmed Ravelo's current status with the company. However, a staffer told Automotive News that the former finance manager had been suspended, and subsequently fired, over the matter. The case is still pending, with Ravelo entering not-guilty pleas to many of the charges.
It bears noting that the alleged crimes are curious in nature. It's one thing to take money for a vehicle and never deliver it. It's a scam so common that various online marketplaces are practically known for it. It's another thing to do that when you're a ranking employee at a dealership, where your spurned customers know where to find you. Regardless, the matter is now in front of the courts, where the finer details may yet come to light.
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