Earlier this week, it was announced that 46-year-old James Pinson of Pritchard, West Virginia had been convicted of three counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, two counts of conspiring to commit money laundering, and six counts of mail fraud. Pinson owned Big Blue Motor Sales which was a used car dealership in Kentucky. Evidence presented during the trial showed that Pinson had defrauded more than $4.3 million from Toyota using the Toyota Customer Support Program.
To facilitate the scheme, Pinson purchased Toyota trucks at wholesale prices at auctions, obtained copies of hundreds of West Virginia and Kentucky driver’s licenses, titled the trucks in the names of the license holders, and fraudulently convinced Toyota to repurchase the trucks at 150% of their retail value.
Between 2013 and 2015, Toyota issued 350 checks in the names of the false owners. Once the checks arrived, Pinson forged signatures on the checks and deposited them into his bank account. Some of the money was used to purchase more Toyota trucks at wholesale prices to keep the scheme going. Pinson also paid cash bribes to a service manager at a Toyota dealership and a representative of the company Toyota had hired to operate the Customer Support Program.
He used some of the money obtained from the fraud scheme to purchase a beach house in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. Pinson now faces up to 22 years in prison and a mandatory two-year sentence as a result of his aggravated identity theft conviction. He will also be required to pay up to $4.3 million to Toyota in restitution. All property connected to the scheme is subject to forfeiture. Further details can be found here.