6:06pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Car dealership owner convicted for fraud scheme

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The owner of a used car dealership has been convicted of multiple charges after fraudulently titling trucks in the names of hundreds of people.

James Pinson of Pritchard owned Big Blue Motor Sales in Kentucky. He was found guilty of defrauding Toyota Motor Corp. of more than $4.3 million by buying trucks at wholesale prices at auction, obtaining copies of driver’s licenses, fraudulently titling the trucks in the names of West Virginia and Kentucky residents, and inducing Toyota to purchase the vehicles at 150% of their retail value.

Court documents showed Toyota issued 350 checks in the names of false owners from 2013 to 2015. Pinson, 46, forged signatures on all 350 checks and deposited the checks into his bank account.

Pinson used the money to buy more Toyota vehicles for the scheme, pay cash bribes to a service manager and a company representative, and purchase a beach house in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina.

A federal jury found Pinson guilty of wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 3, in which he faces up to 220 years in prison in addition to a mandatory two-year sentence resulting from the aggravated identity theft conviction. He will also have to pay $4.3 million to Toyota. All of his property is subject to forfeiture.

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