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Former car dealer office manager pleads guilty to fraud

A woman who used to work as an office manager at a now-bankrupt Texas car dealer has admitted to obtaining floor plan funds by providing the Ford Motor Credit Company with false information. Floor plan is a form of credit auto dealers use to finance their inventories. Court papers reveal that the woman pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A dozen former employees of the dealer group have admitted to fraud and could be sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $25 million.

Prosecutors say that the woman and her coconspirators sent documents to FMCC to obtain the funds needed to repurchase cars that had previously been sold. However, the money was used to pay dealer expenses and not acquire inventory. The dealer workers are said to have scoured old files looking for serial numbers to send FMCC in order to keep the scheme going.

The employees are also accused of selling vehicles out of trust. This means that they failed to pay off floor plan loans after vehicles were sold. Banks that provide floor plan financing regularly check dealer inventories to make sure that vehicles are not being sold out of trust. The dealer workers have admitted to falsifying sales documents to prevent their activities being discovered during these inventory audits. Prosecutors built their case by obtaining email exchanges between the employees involved.

Individuals or businesses that engage in misrepresentation or fraud may face civil as well as criminal sanctions. These cases often involve complex financial arrangements and transactions, which is why consulting with an attorney with experience in this area may be wise for fraud victims who wish to pursue civil remedies. When transactions are particularly elaborate, attorneys might call on experts such as forensic accountants to scrutinize financial records and uncover evidence of fraud.