A typo in the original version has been fixed.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A federal jury has convicted three Oklahoma residents on multiple counts related to an auto dealership.
On September 16, 2020, a federal grand jury released an indictment alleging that Bobby Mayes, Charles Gooch and Courtney Wells used their positions as co-owners of Big Red Dealerships to engage in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud from January 2014 to March 2019.
The indictment alleges that the defendants made false representations and omissions to lenders about the type, source and amount of borrowers’ down payments or vehicle trades, and bribed at least one loan officer.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony that Big Red dealers used advertisements to target potential customers with low credit. He also learned that Mayes, Gooch and Wells then fraudulently tricked lenders into approving loans for those clients by documenting that clients provided cash down payments and traded vehicles when this was not true.
The jury heard testimony that in late 2014 a lender discovered these false cash down payments and Mayes emailed threats to the CEO in an attempt to prevent the lender from further investigating.
From 2015 to 2017, federal prosecutors said at least 519 clients received their down payment based on a pledged item provided to Norman Pawn & Gun, a pawnshop owned by Gooch. However, it was never open for business and never had employees.
Once the loan proceeds were received from the lenders, Big Red Dealership employees generated checks for clients, forged client signatures on the back, deposited the checks into Big Red Dealership accounts, and fully refunded Norman Pawn & Gun for alleged down payments.
On at least 542 occasions, a vehicle was never provided to Big Red dealers, but an exchange was recorded on the loan documents.
In addition, officials say at least one lender approved loans up to two to three times the value of vehicles purchased after a manager paid cash bribes to a loan officer and that the dealer provided false invoices to justify the inflated prices.
The jury found Mayes, Gooch and Wells guilty on multiple counts of wire fraud, conspiracy, issuing fake titles and aggravated identity theft.
Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
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