Two high-volume Suzuki dealerships in South Carolina are at the center of a federal fraud case, as a dealer and Suzuki district manager are among those indicted on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Paul M. Gibson, who operated two Suzuki dealers in South Carolina, as well as Brian J. Sullivan, the Suzuki district manager responsible for Gibson’s stores and 8 other defendants, were indicted. The charges center on claims of false advertising and fraudulent loan documents.
“Ads promised, among other things, that customers could drive a new Suzuki “for life” for payments of $99 per month or less, according to the indictment. Other ads said that customers could have a new car for six, nine or 12 months for minimal payments, trade in the car after a set term, “and obtain a new car at no cost,” the indictment alleged.”
“…dealerships advertised low monthly payments, while staffers told customers that Suzuki would provide the dealership with funds to pay, on behalf of the customers, the difference between the higher monthly payments listed on retail installment sales contracts and the low promotional rates customers agreed to pay.
Customers who attempted to trade their vehicles in after the stated time period would attempt to do so only to find out that they couldn’t obtain a new car under the previously promised terms. The indictment also alleges that the dealership and its employees falsified loan documents, while telling customers to ignore the doctored papers
“…the contracts listed vehicle values far in excess of the market values of the cars in question. When customers asked about the inflated values and corresponding high monthly payments, the defendants told the customers to “totally disregard any of the numbers on the contracts because they would never be obligated to pay anything more than the agreed, low monthly promotional amounts,” the indictment said.”
Should the defendants be found guilty, they could each face a maximum of 60 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.