By on December 20, 2017

used cars used car lot

It’s among the most prolific stereotypes of the automotive world. The shady used car salesman. Often pictured standing next to an overvalued Kia Sephia (a “smokin’ deal!”) while wearing a loud sport coat and white belt, the specter of these fly-by-night fraudsters have plagued reputable dealers for decades.

In Oshawa, Ontario, a city best known for housing General Motors’ Canadian headquarters and a former TTAC managing editor, one such criminal just met his fate. How sweet it must be for the poor buyer he swindled.

According to the province’s vehicles sales regulator, Ryen Maxwell can look forward to spending the holidays in jail. A former registered salesperson at Oshawa’s Countryside Motors, Maxwell was sentenced to 30 days in jail after being found guilty of violating both the Consumer Protection Act and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.

The sentencing was carried out Tuesday. Maxwell was charged with falsifying documents and furnishing false information to financial institutions, as well as committing an unfair business practice. So, what did Maxwell do, actually? According to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, he falsified employment information on a credit application for a “vulnerable consumer,” sending it out to several lenders. The buyer was unaware of the salesman’s actions.

The end result? The “vulnerable consumer” soon found him or herself on the hook for three vehicles, not one. Among smokin’ deals, this has to be the worst.

During Maxwell’s trial, OMVIC argued his actions were “planned, ongoing, and motivated by greed.” It didn’t help Maxwell’s case that he had previously served 18 months of house arrest for a fraud conviction. For failing to prevent Maxwell’s actions, the court fined Countryside Motors $5,000. (OMVIC later issued a proposal to yank the registration of both the dealer and its operator.)

Maxwell, whose registration was revoked in 2016, was charged in 2015 and convicted in May of this year.

Based on some cursory online sleuthing, it seems Maxwell’s position at Countryside Motors was “manger,” at least according to his Linkedin page. An appropriate position given the holiday season. However, a customer who left this single one-star review on Yelp didn’t seem too enamoured with Mr. Maxwell’s Grinch-like sales practices.

Our salesman’s trail doesn’t end there. In September of 2016, Maxwell’s name appears in a story printed in the aftermath of “Project Defiance,” a two-month-long police investigation into counterfeit checks. Among the 55 charges laid against 11 people (10 from Oshawa), are two counts of Fraud over $5,000 and Utter Forged Document for Ryen Maxwell, 38. The charges came after a series of arrests and search warrants executed in late August and early September.

Just to reiterate an earlier point: not every used car salesman is out to get you. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do your homework first and suspect everything and everyone, but it’s quite rare to walk away from a used car purchase with a subprime loan on three vehicles.

[Image: Steven Snodgrass /Flickr]

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26 Comments on “Breaking: Sleazy Used Car Salesman Heads to the Slammer...”


  • avatar
    civicjohn

    Finally, a Christmas story that warms my heart.

    Next stop, the local Kia dealership.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Sounds like this dude was a professional con man who just happened to sell used cars. He’ll be back performing some other scam when he’s out.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      ^^ This. He’s just a con artist; selling cars was only his latest gig.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Agreed.

      My question is, how did he think that he wouldn’t get caught? The poor sap wouldn’t notice he was making three car payments a month on three different first-gen Optimas?

      Maybe the crook’s heart was in the right place, as he knew in order for the customer to have a consistently reliable car, he would need two parts cars to keep it going.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      “when he’s out”? He won’t really be in.

      In Ontario, as I understand it, you can serve a short sentence like this evenings and weekends, so you don’t lose your job. Check into jail in the evening, check out in the morning, and you’ve served 2 days.

  • avatar
    probert

    Well gosh – with the subprime car loan practices about to reach their inevitable default conclusion, I wonder if any of those scoundrels will end up in jail – or if they’re too big to fail. I know where I’m putting my money.

    • 0 avatar
      pwrwrench

      Yep, probert! We’ll end up paying for it, just like the mortgages, credit default swaps, and derivatives. AIG is probably in there somewhere.
      BTW IIRC “reputable (car) dealership” is an oxymoron.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The Sales Manager at the big FCA dealership in my region was fired because of “deceptive and manipulative” sales and advertising practices throughout the facility.
    The principal “left under mutually agreed terms”. He is now suing them by claiming that “they” did not properly defend him against the charges.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    From what I can tell, it’s a used car lot (BHPH lot). Just your garden variety fraud case.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, we haven’t heard from Ruggles in a while…

  • avatar

    Wasn’t there a GM dealer on Long Island, NY who got a multimillion dollar scam going by floor planning Conversion Vans ? Where there’s a pile of money, there will be a scammer…

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A couple of weeks ago I watched the 60 minutes 50th anniversary special.
    They showed a bit of the segment where Mike Wallace catches the unscrupulous used car dealer who was rolling back odometers.
    If you saw the guy he just exuded huckster.
    Thankfully he ended up doing jail time due to tougher laws.

  • avatar
    dwford

    In my experience, those “vulnerable consumers” are more than happy to look the other way and let the finance manager get their deal approved by whatever means necessary. Of course, most finance managers are only trying to sell them one car, not sneak in a couple more.

  • avatar
    slap

    30 days. That’s all he got. Not even a slap on the wrist – more like a light tap.

    • 0 avatar
      Erikstrawn

      That’s to get him in the slammer while the DA writes up everything else they have against him. Second time he’s gone to jail for this? He’s probably going to end up with a couple years.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    Province of Ontario: one: / Sleazebags: no score. Hooray for us! Merry Christmas, jerk. I hope they serve turkey.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I haven’t had many problems with used car dealers, but I am probably a dealer’s worst nightmare (financial analyst/engineer, native NYer, shadetree mechanic). Unless of course they have a rare car I want in the condition I want………. but even still, when it comes to financing I don’t play.

  • avatar
    mikey

    A few years ago here in the “Shwa ” we must have had to 30-40 of those small BHPH lots in the area. They opened, closed, changed names, went broke, or were shut down.

    These dealers ended up with the junk, that the franchise operations didn’t want to deal with. Even the bigger, more established used car lots wouldn’t touch such vehicles.

    It all changed July 1st 2016. The Ministry of Transport introduced some of the toughest safety check rules in North America…Today, if its not financially viable to certify a vehicle, it becomes food for the crusher. Most of the small, shaky little lots folded up within months .

    However, that all being said, the crooks will always find a way, to screw the most vulnerable members of society.

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