Avoid Being a Victim of Fraud
The RV Industry, unfortunately, is not immune from scam artists.
When it comes to purchasing or selling an RV, there are a number of ways that people can get scammed. Each year, some individuals are left feeling the pinch of fraudulent purchases, and the RV industry is no different. From odometer fraud to bounced checks, illegally pulled credit reports, and unclear titles, bad things can happen—and they sometimes do.
In two previous posts I reported on stories that were in the News for All the Wrong Reasons—several relating to consignment sales of recreational vehicles:
During the past two months other scam artists have been trying a make a fast buck.
Illinois: Business owner pleads guilty to federal fraud charges
The owner of Gebhardt Trailer Sales, Jacklyn Still, also known as Jacklyn Gebhardt, 49, of Lynn Haven, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore in Springfield to mail fraud and money laundering. Sentencing is set for July 25.
Mail fraud carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Money laundering carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
The government is also seeking forfeiture of at least $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.
Gebhardt admitted that she engaged in various schemes from June 2004 through about April 26, 2010. She accepted motorhomes on trade based on the representation that, as part of the trade, the loan securing the motorhome would be paid. Gebhardt admitted she resold the motor homes without paying off the original loan and kept the full amount, which left two parties responsible for loans secured by a single vehicle.
Gebhardt also sold others’ motor homes on consignment with the agreement that when a unit was sold, she was to turn over the sale amount, minus her commission, to the owner. Gebhardt also admitted that on at least two occasions after she sold a motorhome and secured financing, she contacted the buyer and falsely represented that she had found more favorable financing from a second financial institution. Gebhardt sent the financing forms to the buyer and when it was sent back to her, she forwarded it to the financial institution and received the money for a second loan. But instead of paying off the first loan, Gebhardt kept the money, leaving the buyer with two outstanding loans.
After the FBI took possession of the trailer sales company’s files, computers, and other records in February 2010, the business filed for bankruptcy protection. The petition listed $6.1 million in liabilities and $136,200 in assets. The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office took possession of dealer plates, licenses, and title applications for customers that same month.
Jacksonville Savings Bank also seized a 2002 Sterling Motorhome and three trailers in December 2009 and Textron Financial seized a United Spectra Motorhome in November 2009.
(Source: Jacksonville Journal-Courier, March 31, 2011)
British Columbia: Ex-Mayor found guilty of fraud in trailer theft case
Former Mayor of Coquitlam, John Kingsbury has been found guilty of fraud, forgery, and impersonation. Kingsbury’s conviction came after he took a trailer belonging to his former business partner from a Langley RV dealership in 2008. Kingsbury claimed he loaned his partner $24,000 to buy the trailer and he was only trying to get some money back from a business deal-gone-bad. Kingsbury believed rightly or wrongly he had an ownership stake in the trailer.
(Source: News 1130, April 1, 2011)
Nobody wants to be a victim of fraud, yet millions of people are, each year.
The good news is that there are ways that you can protect yourself and keep from becoming a victim of fraud.
When buying or selling an RV, stick with a reputable person or dealership. If you don’t feel confident and comfortable go elsewhere or contact your local Better Business Bureau to determine if there are any complaints.
The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.
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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.