Car Fraud Leaves Man Without Transportation

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa fraud detectives are investigating a man they believe bought nine cars from a dealership with a counterfeit check and is now selling those cars to unsuspecting victims. Two victims have come forward so far. One man drove his car for three months and didn't realize he'd been scammed until he got pulled over for a traffic violation. He was shocked when the officer told him his car was stolen.

News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports he still has to make payments on it, even though the car has since been given back to the dealership.

Fred Johnson is a retired gentleman, a widower and a Korean veteran. He was reading the classifieds last November when he saw an ad for a car for sale that caught his eye. "He had it wrote up real nice, said it was his mother's car and that's what caught my eye, figured it had been taken care of," said Johnson. The man brought over the white Lincoln Continental and even went with Johnson to the bank to make the money arrangements. Johnson never dreamed that man didn't legally own the car and had no right to sell it. "I really couldn't believe it,” he said. “Didn't seem like that type of person to me that he would have stolen nine cars and mine was one of them. Couldn't believe it."

The man even gave Johnson a title, but it's for a 1992 Lincoln, not a 1991 and the vehicle's identification number or VIN didn't match the car's VIN. Tulsa Police say another victim has also now come forward, saying he's found a Chevy truck listed in the classifieds, called the same man, made a deal, but he never received a title. "He went to the tag agency to file a lost title or see what's up and they informed him that car was stolen and he couldn't legally purchase it," said Detective Cheryl Compton of the TPD Fraud Unit.

Police want buyers to beware. They fear more victims are out there and some may not even know it yet. "There's possibly nine victims out there because there's nine cars and two have come across my desk in the past five days,” said Compton. “How many he's sold or has left, I don't know."

The chances of the victims getting their money back are pretty slim. Johnson says all he wants is transportation to get him to the grocery store and church, but now he's making payments on a car loan, but has no car.