Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Things that creep me out:

View from the International Space Station
on 9-11.

The last picture on a digital camera found in
Sri Lanka after the tsunami.

Why won't he put his hand over his heart
during the Pledge of Allegiance?

Could it happen again?

Pretty deep for an F&I Manager huh.

- Let's all have a strong finish in July!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Murder of a Car Salesman

The car business is slow everywhere but Damn...

Dealerships charged with stealing identities to help drug dealers and gang members buy expensive cars:

Victory Toyota and a used car operation on Long Island implicated in multipronged investigation all started by the murder of a car salesman at Universal Auto World

The investigation got its start in January of 2007 when salesman Colin Thomas was found shot in the back outside of Universal in Lawrence, New York

As the local police investigated the murder, they started pulling on threads of evidence that ultimately uncovered a large-scale scheme of fraudulent financial dealings, identity theft for the purpose of hiding the true identity of the purchasers of high-end vehicles, the use of “straw buyers” for the same purpose, and ultimately the padding of car purchase finance agreements to cover unordered and unwanted extended warranties and anti-theft equipment.

Most of the allegations appear to be directed in or through Universal Auto World according to the account in the Long Island newspaper Newsday. And while the article does not fully explain if any official business relationship exists between Victory and Universal, apparently in the process of investigating the murder, identity theft and use of straw buyers at Universal, authorities also discovered alleged improper sales tactics being employed at Victory Toyota.

It all got started in January of 2007 when the body of Colin Thomas was found dead of an apparent gun shot to the back outside of Universal Auto World - a used car business in close proximity to Victory Toyota.

The investigators reportedly discovered elaborate schemes to use stolen identities to mask the true identity of the purchasers of high-end vehicles. Four instances of stolen identities were reported, including one 75-year-old local woman. Her I.D. was used to purchase over $250K worth of vehicles including a Maserati valued at $100K. The stolen I.D.s were used to complete the sale of the vehicles to “known” drug dealers and other criminals, according to another account in the New York Daily News. Those with criminal reputations seek ways to stay below the radar of local law enforcement. Owning their vehicles in the names of others is one way to achieve this result.

Police also uncovered the use of “straw buyers.” In these cases, individuals were paid to allow their names to be used on the purchase and vehicle title and registration documents.

Other than being located close by, there was no link indicated between Universal and Victory Toyota. However, in the list of offenses uncovered by their investigation, police included charges that some employees of Victory Toyota had used illegal practices to pad car buyer’s orders with extended warranties and anti-theft systems. Dennis Cirillo, the operations manager of Victory Toyota, and brother of the owner, said that the dealership along with their customers were all victims of the three dealership employees arrested.

The three Victory Toyota employees were charged with 25 instances of filing false financial information, adjusting loan rates, stealing of cash deposits or the adding of unordered aftermarket items was used to inflate commissions.

The dealership is working with the car buyers to either buy back the vehicles or have their finance agreements adjusted to the proper amounts.

Reminds me of the movie Fargo.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

F&I Acronyms

A friend of mine, David Teves posted on his blog "Confessions of a Car Man" an acronym for the F&I manager: Fool & Incompetent. I love it. It got me thinking about other F&I acronyms:

F***in Idiotic

Foolhardy & Inefficient

Failure & Incapable

Foolish & Inadequate

Fruitless & Imbecilic

Futile & Inappropriate

Fine & Intelligent?

Hey, If you can't laugh at yourself, it's a personal problem.

I just delivered three deals that got my month back on track - About damn time. This month might actually turn out decent after all. Good luck to all in the car business trying to pull out what should turn out to be a good July.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ex-prison worker employee comes in handy as a customer vents his showroom rage with a knife attack

You can't make this stuff up...

Battlefield Ford (an appropriate name for this story) was the scene of a knife attack on a 38-year dealership employee.

According to a story carried by WCAV-TV a CBS affiliate in Charlottesville Virginia, Sixty-six-year-old James Jackson came to Battlefield Ford on Wednesday morning to complain about a vehicle he recently purchased at the dealership.

There was no indication in the written account on what lit his fuse, but during his confrontation with Butch, a 38-year employee of the dealership, Jackson produced a butcher knife and proceeded to attack him.

According to the report, Jackson was able to cut Butch several times before another dealership employee, Fred Nelson, was able to intervene and take Jackson to the floor.

According to another dealership employee, Nelson used to work at the prison and apparently was familiar with the techniques for disarming and neutralizing an angry armed man. The report indicates that once Nelson became involved, Jackson was quickly taken to the floor and pinned.

Jackson was arrested and charged with malicious wounding and is being held in jail pending a bail hearing.

No one else was wounded, but several were taken to the hospital to be cleaned up. Apparently it was a bloody scene.

(I was thinking about how the f&i manager might have contributed to this situation - you never know who will come back with a butcher knife - scary).

Another take on the story:

Buyer’s remorse: Dissatisfied car buyer returns to dealership and stabs salesman

The salesman and the customer, a retired dealership employee, knew each other. Quick action by another employee prevented things from getting worse.

DealersEdge Daily Headlines

Police in Virginia say that an angry customer stabbed a salesman at Battlefield Ford near Manassas, Virginia, reports WCAV-TV.

The customer was subsequently identified as a retired employee of the dealership. He was arrested for malicious wounding. Police say he came to the dealership to complain about a car he bought recently.

The salesman was sitting in his office when the attacker entered. The attacker “brought a bag and said, ‘Here, I’ve got something for you,” then pulled a knife and started slashing the salesman.

The incident is a good reminder for dealerships to have an emergency plan in place.