FBI Investigating Florida Classic Car Dealer Accused of Huge Title Fraud Scheme

“I deeply regret that you lost money.”

byNico DeMattia|
YouTube. WKMG ClickOrlando
YouTube. WKMG ClickOrlando.
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Stephen Phelps, owner of the now-bankrupt FSD Hot Rod Ranch, recently went face to face with the creditors to whom he owed money. After filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2023, Phelps listed almost 100 creditors and owes more than $ 4 million in liabilities. Despite the Eustis police department and FBI investigating Phelps for fraud, he told his creditors during a recent Zoom session that his business simply failed.

“I deeply regret that you lost money,” said Phelps, according to Mike DeForest at WKMG ClickOrlando. “It was simply a business plan I could not make work.” However, many of Phelp's customers would argue otherwise.

FSD (Father, Son, Daughter) Hot Rod Ranch bought and sold hot rods and classic cars but many of its customers either failed to get their money or didn't receive the car they bought. At least one customer received a fraudulent title, leaving them in debt to the bank for the car but unable to legally register and drive it.

During the Zoom session, Utah native Brett Pace asked Phelps about the $28,000 he was owed. In 2022, Pace agreed to sell Phelps his 1972 GMC Sierra and shipped the truck to FSD in Florida. Phelps was supposed to pay Pace the $28,000 within 90 days, under a delayed payment agreement, but never did.

“I sincerely apologize for that,” said Phelps. "Bullshit," Pace replied, seemingly unaccepting of the apology.

Debra Meyers claimed to have bought a 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton replica with her late fiancé from FSD for $25,000. After her fiancé died, she realized that she never received a title for the car. So now she owes the bank but can't legally drive it. It seems Phelps never gave Meyers the title because he doesn't have it. Another creditor, Jim McMillan, interrupted to tell Meyers that he still has the title for the '31 Ford since Phelps still owes him $17,000 for the car. According to Florida state law, it's illegal to sell a vehicle without having possession of its title.

There are currently 27 complaints to the Better Business Bureau about FSD, all with similar stories of either not receiving payment, not receiving legal titles, or simply not receiving cars they purchased.

Even an electrician asked Phelps if he'd ever get the $8,300 he was owed for work done at FSD. "I don't think so," said Phelps.

According to Phelps, there are no more vehicles in FSD's possession and the last of the cars either went back to the owners or to buyers. Since filing for bankruptcy and shutting FSD's doors, Phelps mortgaged his $1 million, 10-acre residential property and is renting it to an event planning company, Pegasus Manor, to hold weddings and other venues there. However, Pegasus Manor is owned by former model Beth Sabol, whose social media indicates is in a personal relationship with Phelps. Phelps told creditors that he's yet to receive payment from Pagasus Manor for renting his property.

FSD's website is now shut down but you can still check out the archived version. The criminal investigations by the Eustis police department and FBI are currently ongoing.

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