federal jury condemns the managers of a Normandy automobile dealership for conspiracy of electronic fraud, forgery and identity theft | Criminal justice
On Friday, November 19, 2021, a federal jury sentenced BOBBY CHRIS MAYES, 49, CHARLES GOOCH, 63, and COURTNEY WELLS, 36, all residents of Norman, with multiple counts of wire fraud, conspiracy, issuing false titles and aggravated identity theft, announced Robert J. Troester, Acting United States Attorney-at-Law. United for the Western District of Oklahoma.
On September 16, 2020, a federal grand jury issued an indictment alleging that from January 2014 to March 2019, Mayes, Gooch and Wells used their positions as co-owners of the Big Red dealers (Big Red Sports / Imports, Big Red Kia, Norman Yamaha, Norman Mitsubishi and Mayes Kia) to engage in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in which they sought to obtain millions of dollars in loan proceeds. The indictment further alleged that the defendants made false statements and omissions to lenders about the type, source and amount of borrowers’ down payments or vehicle trades, and bribed at least one loan officer.
The trial began on November 2, 2021 before United States Senior District Judge Stephen P. Friot, and the federal jury returned its verdict on Friday, November 19, 2021. At trial, the jury heard testimony that the dealers Big Red used advertisements to target potential clients with poor credit and Mayes, Gooch and Wells then fraudulently trick lenders into approving loans for those clients by documenting that clients provided cash down payments and / or loans. trade-in vehicles when it was wrong. Twelve different Big Red Dealership customers shared their experiences with buying cars at Big Red Dealerships, as well as several former employees and representatives of several lenders. In some circumstances, the purported cash deposit was simply fictitious, and Big Red dealers referred to these cash deposits as “King Cash” on internal documents. The jury also heard testimony that in late 2014, a lender discovered these false cash down payments, and Mayes emailed threats to that lender’s CEO in an attempt to prevent the lender from further investigating. Big Red dealers.
Evidence at trial also showed that from February 2015 through the end of 2017, Big Red dealers continued to document fictitious cash down payments for lenders. During this period, for at least 519 clients, the down payment was allegedly based on a pawned item provided to Norman Pawn & Gun, a pawnshop owned by Gooch and located in a building owned by Mayes, although he 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. The jury also heard that Big Red dealers falsely documented vehicle trades for lenders to approve loans. On at least 542 occasions, the vehicle was never supplied to Big Red dealers and a separate transaction was documented – unbeknownst to the lender – in which the trade-in vehicle was sold back to the customer for a dollar. Finally, the jury heard testimony that at least one lender approved bad loans – up to two to three times the value of vehicles purchased – after a Big Red dealership official paid bribes. wine in cash to a loan officer and that Big Red dealerships provided false invoices to justify the inflated prices.
The jury found the three defendants guilty of conspiracy to commit electronic fraud, alleged as Count 1 of the indictment. The jury convicted Mayes and Gooch of 12 counts of wire fraud based on false information sent to lenders for 12 specific clients, as alleged in Counts 2 through 13. The jury found Wells guilty on six of those counts. charge of electronic fraud. For each conviction charged to Counts 1 through 13, each accused faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.00.
The jury convicted the three accused of six counts of falsification of securities based on Norman Pawn & Gun checks forged by employees of Big Red Dealership, as alleged in Counts 14-19 of the Act of ‘charge. For counts 14 through 19, each accused faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.
The jury convicted the three defendants of six counts of aggravated identity theft, as alleged in counts 20 to 25 of the indictment, for using the signatures of six clients without legal authorization. For counts 20 to 25, each accused faces a mandatory jail term of two years consecutive to any other jail term and a fine of $ 250,000. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.