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California Dealers Charged in Powerbooking Scheme

October 01, 2008

ORANGE, Calif. — Just over a year after Douglas Nissan was raided by city and county authorities, the owner and three employees were arrested last week and charged with defrauding customers and banks in a scheme that involved inflating prices on 31 vehicles, according to the Orange County Register.

The four defendants are Frank Ignacio Urbano, 54, of Anaheim, a former part owner and general manager of the dealership; and former sales managers Luz Belem Corral, 26, of Costa Mesa; Kevin Allen DeRosier, 28, of Anaheim; and Marwan Abdellatif, 46, of Lakewood, prosecutors said.

Following the July 2007 raid, investigators from the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the Orange Police Department carted away hundreds of boxes of paperwork and two computers. The dealership has since changed ownership and is now known as Stadium Nissan.

The Douglas Nissan owner and employees were accused of selling used cars at inflated Kelley Blue Book values by telling lenders that the vehicles had upgrades, said Doug Brannan, a senior deputy district attorney who is prosecuting the case. Leather interiors, DVD players, navigation systems and premium wheels were listed to inflate the selling price of the vehicles in order to defraud customers and banks.

For the 31 transactions at the core of the prosecutors' case, lenders issued auto loans worth a total of $911,502 against a total Kelley Blue Book value of only $677,032. Banks and lenders defrauded in the scheme include AmeriCredit Financial Services, Bank of America, Capital One Auto Finance, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., NuVision Federal Credit Union, Wachovia Financial Services, Wells Fargo Bank and Wescom Credit Union, Brannan said.

Prosecutors further allege that the fraud scheme targeted Spanish-speaking customers, especially those without proper identification. In some cases, employees were accused of stealing identities to help customers who were unable to qualify for a loan due to insufficient credit or income.

Authorities charged the four defendants with 77 felonies. They each face a maximum sentence of 37 years and four months in state prison if convicted on all counts. Each defendant was held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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