Category: Crime & Punishment

By on September 21, 2018

Four years after launching a massive, incredibly delayed recall aimed at preventing further deaths from its faulty ignition switches, General Motors freed itself from a criminal case launched in the scandal’s wake.

Earlier this week, federal prosecutors in New York wrote U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, compelling him to dismiss the case. Nathan approved the request, lifting GM free of the caudron. The rationale for dismissing the two criminal charges — concealing evidence from federal officials and wire fraud — comes down to good behavior on GM’s part, something that certainly doesn’t describe its past actions. Read More >

By on August 20, 2018

A trio of “driving enthusiasts” briefly shut down San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Sunday morning after they decided it was the perfect place to do donuts. The vehicle’s involved appear to be a MkIII Toyota Supra and a pair of SN-95 Mustangs. According to the California Highway Patrol, the older of the two Mustangs was nabbed while its New Edge kindred escaped with the Supra — probably to get brunch somewhere across town.

Other drivers were also stopped and issued citations for illegal modifications, presumably because the cops couldn’t prove they helped stop traffic so the lead cars could put on a smoke show.  Read More >

By on August 13, 2018

The Reagor Dykes Auto Group was formed in 2006 after Bart Reagor, shown above, teamed up with a business partner to create a company that now eclipses half a billion dollars in annual sales. This is accomplished through a myriad of manufacturer franchises ranging from Ford to Chevy to Toyota, not to mention its dozen or so rooftops dealing solely in used cars.

Now, the company is facing allegations of major financial chicanery. In court documents filed last week, Ford Motor Company accuses Reagor Dykes of running one of the “largest floor-plan financing frauds in the history of the United States.”

Read More >

By on August 10, 2018

[Image: Jeffrey Smith/Flickr]

As jurisdictions across the continent prepare to legalize the consumption of marijuana, assuming they haven’t already, the methods of testing for drug-impaired driving haven’t advanced quite as rapidly as legislation.

While breathalyzers are a mainstay of the law enforcement toolkit, getting an accurate reading of just how impaired a drug-using driver really is isn’t an exact science — despite some claims to the contrary. Blood tests for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, are often misleading. Actual impairment really comes down to the user, not the blood reading. A driver’s buzz could easily have worn off long before getting behind the wheel, despite the elevated presence of THC in their bloodstream.

Apparently, demands for better testing is something the Colorado Department of Transportation hears at meeting after meeting.

North of the border, the entire country of Canada goes weed-legal this fall, and the likely method of detecting DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) is already coming under fire. Read More >

By on June 18, 2018

Image: Audi AG

Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, was arrested in Munich Monday morning on suspicion of fraud, according to German prosecutors.

The CEO, who took the helm at Audi in 2007 after joining the company in 1990, was taken into custody following a years-long probe into Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating. While the automaker has already paid a steep price at home and abroad for its defeat device-equipped diesel engines, today marks the highest profile arrest so far in the ongoing investigations.

According to German media, prosecutors claim Stadler poses a flight risk, meaning he’ll remain in custody for the time being. Read More >

By on June 14, 2018

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

In 2017, the U.S. hit Volkswagen with a $4.3 billion fine as part of the company’s plea agreement for violating of the Clean Air Act. It was a rough ride for the automaker, caught using defeat devices on its diesel engines, but it brought the scandal more or less to a close in America.

An ocean away, it seemed nothing would come of the endless raids by German authorities on VW-owned facilities. Apparently, the wheels of justice just turn a little slower in Europe, as the automaker was fined 1 billion euros on Wednesday. It’s one of the largest financial penalties ever imposed on a company by German authorities.  Read More >

By on May 7, 2018

Any number of unpleasant things can befall a motorist after an unexpected, police-initiated roadside stop. Asset seizure being just one of the dangers. Of course, suspected drug use can also ruin your day, as well as your life.

For an Ontario woman pulled over for speeding on the I-75 in Cook County, Georgia, the item that landed her in jail was exactly what the officer asked for: a driver’s license. Sorry, wrong country, she was told. Read More >

By on May 7, 2018

Shortly after the United States formally accused former CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn of criminal wrongdoing related to the company’s diesel emission scandal, it decided to let the company’s new boss know that he’s safe to visit whenever he likes. The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to give Herbert Diess a safe-passage deal that allows him to travel without fear of being arrested.

Diess was also given the country’s assurance that he’ll be given advance notice if prosecutors eventually decide to charge him over the emissions cheating issue. So far as we know, no such deal exists for his predecessor, Matthias Müller, who replaced Winterkorn in September of 2015.  Read More >

By on May 4, 2018

2018 Ram 3500 Cummins towing, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Police in Michigan are flummoxed and frustrated after a theft of nearly a dozen brand new Ram pickups from the Warren Truck Assembly Plant. Like a scene from Gone in 60 Seconds, the ne’er-do-wells are alleged to have crashed freshly manufactured Rams through secured gates before hightailing it south on Mound Road.

“This was well-planned,” said Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, who takes home top honors in today’s Most Obvious Statement competition.

Read More >

By on April 24, 2018

At first, the headlines looked like a serious breach of justice: “Man Gets 8 Months In Prison After Flipping-Off Traffic Camera.” A jail sentence for a rude gesture?

As much as I have concerns about civil liberties and law enforcement, after tracking down the actual news (or at least a press release from the relevant police agency), it appears the case wasn’t as simple as jailing a man for flipping a bird at a speed camera. I have to say that the guy probably deserved some legal grief, if only for being too brazen. Read More >

By on April 20, 2018

car salesman in car dealership with key, Image: Kzenon/Bigstock

We told you last year of the outrageous case of an Oshawa, Ontario used car salesman who bilked unwitting customers out of their hard-earned cash before being sentenced to a month in jail. Well, a second trial recently adjourned, and Ryen Maxwell of Countryside Motors now faces 180 days in the big house.

A repeat fraudster, this former salesman’s list of financial atrocities is a long one. In addition to causing fiscal hardship for numerous customers, Maxwell’s actions can be credited with causing, or at least contributing to, one woman becoming stranded in a rural snowbank and the breakup of another man’s marriage. Is it any wonder BHPH lots carry a stigma? Read More >

By on April 20, 2018

wells fargo

Wells Fargo is getting slammed with all kinds of penalties over shady business practices. Currently prohibited from growing its business as investigators look into its practices, the bank has restructured itself after it was implicated in widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuse in the summer of 2017. It’s also still coping with an earlier scandal involving local branches opening fake accounts for customers.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency suggested Well Fargo pay $1 billion to “resolve” the governmental probes into those issues. That changed today when the bureau filed a consent order announcing it was time for the bank to pay up.

The fine applies to the mortgage lending issues, as well as Wells Fargo’s past practice of charging thousands of auto loan customers for insurance they didn’t need and often didn’t even know about. The move caused some borrowers to default on their loans, resulting in their vehicles being repossessed. The consent order mandates that the bank remediate those customers.  Read More >

By on April 11, 2018

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles regails the class with a “how I spend my summer” story this fall, expect some mention of handing over large sums of money to state and federal governments.

The U.S. Department of Justice and California Air Resources Board want the automaker to make things right after accusing it of polluting the nation’s air via its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engines. Some 104,000 Jeep and Ram vehicles from the 2014 to 2016 model years contained emissions control devices not revealed to the Environmental Protection Agency, which came down hard on the automaker after their discovery. According to FCA’s lawyer, the settlement could come this summer.

What does the DOJ want? According to an earlier settlement offer sent to the automaker, the levelling of “very substantial civil penalties” is the only way to ensure FCA learns its lesson. Read More >

By on March 22, 2018

Indiana State Police proudly announced the capture of a speed demon who was ripping down the highway at over twice the legal limit. The diver, 38-year old J. Jesus Duran Sandoval, was allegedly trying to break the sound barrier on the Indiana Toll Road Tuesday evening when he hurtled past an officer at an extremely high rate of speed.

State Trooper Dustin Eggert, who was merging back into traffic after helping a broken down motorist near the 45 mile marker, took chase but found the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat difficult to keep up with. At one point he found himself driving 150 miles an hour, noting that the vehicle he was pursuing continued to pull away as he radioed for backup.  Read More >

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. Read More >

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