Car salesmen have a less than envious reputation, but few can hold a candle to Ricardo Perez.
According to Automotive News, Perez worked at Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Plymouth, Michigan for seven years before he was fired on July 30 for allegedly defrauding the dealership out of “tens of thousands of dollars.” General manager Jason Scott wouldn’t go into specifics, but told the publication “He took advantage of us” and was a bad guy.
While defrauding employers is nothing new, Perez was reportedly just getting started. Citing police, the publication is reporting Perez pretended to still work at the dealership and scammed would-be customers out of their cars and hard-earned money.
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In particular, Perez is said to have arranged trade-ins with victims in parking lots under the guise of COVID-19 safety protocols. While that’s pretty fishy, a number of people fell for it and Perez would allegedly take their vehicle and then sell it.
That wasn’t the only scam as Perez is said to have offered leases that were too good to be true. He apparently enticed victims with low prices, before going to dealerships and signing leases on their behalf. As Lincoln Park Police Chief Ray Watters explained, “What they thought was like a $500 (£383 / €458) a month payment on their truck was actually closer to $800 (£613 / €733), and the vehicle they traded-in was never traded-in.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, Watters said Perez “would take their down payments… and tell them there was no payment needed for three months, when in fact there were payments needed right away.” This meant some victims were months behind on their new vehicle as well as months behind on the vehicle they thought they traded-in.
The investigation is ongoing, but police are aware of at least 30 victims throughout Metro Detroit. It’s also believed the scams went on for a few months, before creditors started contacting victims and demanding payment. Unfortunately for them, Watters said most likely won’t recover their losses.
As for Perez, he was arrested on Tuesday at his home in a stolen car. He’s now facing a long list of charges in a number of jurisdictions.