MAYFAIR - Pennsylvania state investigators have arrested a pair of businessmen allegedly caught running a fraudulent used car lot.
The suspects are accused of duping customers and fellow business partners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and police are looking for even more victims.
On Monday, Pennsylvania State Police arrested 49-year-old Cyrus Scott and 59-year-old Lawrence Laken of S & L Automotive Solutions in Mayfair.
Investigators say the suspects were supposed to be selling automobiles on consignment. This means the vehicles are owned by a car dealership which would send overstock vehicles to S & L, with the hope of unloading excess inventory.
"They were displaying the cars, they actually never held the title or ownership of these cars. Meanwhile, they are telling their customers they are the true owners of these cars and taking money from them," Trooper Bijan Rastegarpanah said.
In other words, the car dealers who owned the vehicles were not getting their cut of the car sales and the customers who bought the vehicles were under the false impression that their purchases were legitimate.
"When I talk with the bank, they put the car in repo status. So this gentleman who thinks he paid $10,000 for a car from S & L, he's going to have his car repoed by the bank because he's not the true owner of the car, the payments are not being made," Rastegarpanah said.
S & L customers, after now finding out they are not the owners of the vehicles they purchased, also told Action News a lot of the vehicles were sold in poor working condition.
"Every week, there's always the same excuse of 'I can't get it done. You're going to have to pay me $100 to do it, at a $100 deductible.' That thing is covered under warranty," customer Andrew Grubb said.
"I've been told it's getting repaired, repaired, repaired, all the way up until today. No one is returning our call. We were supposed to pick it up today," customer Patrick Dahl.
Pennsylvania State Police are asking any potential victims to call 215-581-5069.
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