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Two events in the final weeks of 2012 have dampened the holiday season and will make this a year we will never forget. First was Hurricane Sandy, a storm that hit our shores and destroyed communities. The second was the Newtown, Conn., shooting that has shaken a nation.
In both tragedies we have witnessed the best of the human spirit. The response to Sandy has been phenomenal. Thousands of volunteers have stepped up to help their neighbors in every way possible. And in Newtown, broken hearts were lifted by the reports of a principal and teachers who put themselves in the line of fire to save the children.
Even in the midst of tragedy, there is reason in this season for hope. We wish our readers a joyous and peaceful holiday season.
Car Dealing Crooks
The sign on the lot should have been a giveaway that something at this dealership wasn’t right. It reads: “No Credit. Bad Credit. All Credit. 100% approval.”
But if you’re down on your luck and need a car, you might suspend skepticism and common sense.
The owners of the Auto Palace dealership in Woodside allegedly held onto $730,000 in sales tax paid by the customers. Meanwhile, their finance manager allegedly defrauded customers out of $115,000 in cash through a fake refinancing scheme.
Prosecutors say the finance manager would promise to refinance the car at a lower rate if customers made on-time payments for six months. That never happened. To get the deal he would ask his customers for a fee or down payment ranging from $1,000 to $13,000 and never refinance the loan, the DA said.
The owners were charged with three counts each of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, grand larceny, 26 counts of falsifying business records, 26 counts of offering a false instrument and two counts of scheme to defraud, the DA said. If found guilty, they could go to prison for as much as 25 years.
But what prosecutors found is probably the tip of an iceberg. There is no telling how many people they victimized. Most victims will never get their money back.
We welcome news that the district attorney is bringing the hammer down on used car dealerships. We hope the prosecution will send a shiver down the spine of crooked dealers.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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