Former Shoreline Mitsubishi Business Manager Sentenced to Prison for Role in Credit Fraud Scheme
Topics: Shoreline Mitsubishi, Bruce Vetre
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut
October 30, 2009
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BRUCE VETRE, 45, of Guilford, a former Business Manager at Shoreline Mitsubishi in Branford, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to six months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his involvement in an extensive fraud scheme related to the submission of false auto financing credit applications. Judge Burns also ordered VETRE to pay a fine in the amount of $4500, and restitution of $1300 to a victim customer of the dealership. On March 7, 2005, VETRE pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
VETRE was the Business Manager at Shoreline Mitsubishi between approximately July 2001 and September 2002. According to statements made in court and evidence disclosed during the trial of several of VETRE’s co-defendants, VETRE and others participated in a scheme whereby they submitted false customer credit information via fax, the Internet, and the mails to Mitsubishi Motors Credit of America, Inc. (“MMCA”). Specifically, Shoreline Mitsubishi employees inflated customers’ income figures and falsified other material information before submitting customer credit applications to MMCA. Shoreline Mitsubishi employees submitted these false credit applications to MMCA in order to deceive MMCA concerning the customers’ income and other material information, and thereby to induce MMCA to approve the extension of credit to customers of Shoreline Mitsubishi who would not have qualified for automobile financing at all, or for the amounts approved by MMCA, had such fraudulent information not been provided to MMCA.
The evidence at trial proved that, on many of the transactions, Shoreline Mitsubishi employees failed to disclose to customers the existence of large “balloon payments” at the conclusion of their financing contracts. In addition, in some instances, Shoreline Mitsubishi customers were being charged a substantially higher price for the automobiles than the customers had agreed to pay. In other instances, customers were being charged for insurance contracts and extended service warranties that they had not requested or that they had been told were being included in their contract free of charge. In many instances, Shoreline Mitsubishi customers were charged for optional items, such as CD changers, that were not actually installed in their cars. Finally, the investigation revealed that some Shoreline Mitsubishi employees pocketed cash down payments that had been provided to the dealership by customers.
VETRE has specifically admitted that, in one instance, he listed his own fishing rod company, VRC Crafting, as a Shoreline Mitsubishi customer’s employer on a credit application submitted to MMCA for financing of a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant. The credit application stated that the customer had worked for VRC Crafting for more than two years and was earning a monthly gross of income at VRC Crafting of $3,400. In fact, the customer had never worked for VRC Crafting and was actually earning approximately $1,600 per month working for another company.
Today, VETRE was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1300 to a customer who was charged for an extended service contract that VETRE failed to properly disclose to her.
For the purpose of sentencing the defendants in this matter, the Court has determined that MMCA has suffered a loss of $2.1 million as a result of this fraud scheme.
Shoreline Mitsubishi went out of business in 2003.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service and the Branford Police Department. The Connecticut State Police, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Guilford Police Department also provided assistance in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael S. McGarry and Jonathan Biran.
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