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Classic car business owner facing theft charges

A 26-year-old businessman who relocated to Michigan is facing charges of wire fraud and money laundering via information in connection with alleged crimes in Minnesota. The man is accused of property crimes in connection with a three-year scheme that was reportedly designed to swindle car owners. Vintage vehicle owners say they were defrauded for about $1 million after the defendant promised to restore their cars.

Authorities report the man misrepresented his business from April 2007 until May 2010. He offered a variety of services, including car search assistance for buyers seeking to invest in classic automobiles. The man also reportedly offered to restore or rebuild a variety of cars that were subsequently left at his shop for repairs. In most cases, the man failed to provide the services after he was paid. Some customers were required to make payments throughout the restoration progress, which was allegedly falsified through the use of doctored photos. The company, which the man shared with his father, has been the target of more than a dozen lawsuits since 2007.

Not only is the man facing charges in Minnesota; Wayne County investigators have also charged him with larceny and writing bad checks. The man had made several down payments and deposits using checks that were invalid, some of which were not even linked to existing accounts.

The man pleaded guilty to one charge related to the Michigan incidents in exchange for having five others dismissed. Guilty pleas are often helpful for criminal defendants because they open the door for bargains and negotiation. The man remains in state custody while his sentencing is determined. The criminal proceedings are still pending for the Minnesota charges, which could land the man in federal prison for as long as 30 years.

If you are facing fraud allegations, consider seeking the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about your legal options, while protecting your rights in the courtroom.

Source:  www.startribune.com, "Charges: Chisholm shop duped classic car buffs to tune of $1 million" Paul Walsh, May. 17, 2013