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CRIME Car dealer accused of writing bad checks



Published: Fri, June 17, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man sent the checks to 13 other states, police say.

ST. MARYS, W.Va. (AP) -- The owner of a West Virginia car dealership accused of writing more than $1 million in bad checks to buy cars from dealers in several other states for resale has been arrested in Tennessee on fugitive from justice warrants.

Sherman Dils IV was arrested Wednesday in Gallatin, Tenn., on three warrants relating to problems with St. Marys Ford-Mercury, Pleasants County Sheriff Ted Maston said.

The Sumner County Sheriff's Department in Tennessee told Maston that Dils appeared in court Wednesday on another warrant for an alleged insufficient check written to a Ford dealership in Gallatin. Dils was then taken into custody.

West Virginia authorities closed the St. Marys dealership in April and stripped Dils of his business license and his license to deal cars.

Dils allegedly wrote bad checks to buy cars from dealers in 13 other states, according to police and court records.

"For the situation we are in, it's a sizable fraud considering it is a single dealership to defraud that many customers and to defraud that many dealerships," said Ken Gournic, postal inspector with the Pittsburgh division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Allegations

About 75 of Dils' customers allege he either failed to properly title cars with the state or failed to pay off liens on cars they traded in, Pleasants County Prosecutor Tim Sweeney said.

Most of the customers were from West Virginia, while the rest were from Ohio and Pennsylvania, West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Doug Stump said.

Some dealers who allegedly received bad checks for cars Dils bought reported the cars as stolen, Sweeney said.

"We've actually had situations where law enforcement has called me, wanting us to pick up a car as a stolen vehicle from a citizen here in Pleasants County, from a citizen who had completely paid for the car ... and were completely innocent victims of the situation," Sweeney said.

Dils allegedly owes $300,000 in unpaid liens, Stump said.

Dils' attorney, George Cosenza, said Wednesday several charges are being dropped against his client in several jurisdictions because Dils has been working to pay back money owed.




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