MARCH 05, 2022 2:08 PM
CHARLESTON, W.Va — A West Virginia man has been sentenced to six years in prison in a truck warranty fraud scheme.
James Pinson, 46, of Wayne County, was convicted in December by a federal jury of wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit money laundering. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
Also sentenced Thursday was Frank Russo, 69, of North Carolina. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud in July 2020 and was sentenced to two years.
Both men will be required to pay restitution of up to $4.3 million to Toyota, the Justice Department said.
Pinson owned Big Blue Motor Sales, a Kentucky used car dealership in Louisa, Ky.
Evidence at trial indicated he bought Toyota trucks at wholesale prices, obtained copies of Kentucky and West Virginia residents’ driver’s licenses, fraudulently titled the trucks in their names and persuaded Toyota to repurchase the trucks at 150% of their retail value, the Justice Department said in a news release.
Pinson forged signatures on 350 checks and deposited them into his bank account, the release said. He bought more trucks at wholesale and paid cash bribes to Russo and Stanley Clark, the Justice Department said.
Clark was sentenced earlier to 15 months.