Ex-Upstate car dealer, 9 others indicted - FOX Carolina 21

Ex-Upstate car dealer, 9 others indicted

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Former Upstate car salesman Joe Gibson and nine others were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday, according to court records.

Gibson was the owner and operator of Joe Gibson's Auto World, also known as Joe Gibson Suzuki, with locations in Spartanburg and Gaffney, and Joe Gibson Automotive Inc. The dealerships closed in 2008, when it came under fire for what some consumers called a bait-and-switch scheme.

Gibson, eight of his employees - Billy Mills Jr., Lewis Harward Jr., Richard Harward, Joshua Maldonado, Lennie Sanders, Wanda Smith, Kathy Stewart and Jillian Ventrello - and American Suzuki Motor Corporation employee Brian Sullivan are named in the 11-page indictment. The 10 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud as to fraudulent marketing, conspiracy to commit wire fraud as to fraudulent financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud as to false report to American Suzuki Motor Corporation.

DOCUMENT: Read the federal grand jury indictment

According to the document, the defendants used deceptive marketing practices, which promised customers extremely low payments, financing options and test drive programs. The indictment also accused the defendants of filing false reports to America Suzuki Motor Corporation to cash in on the company's incentive programs.

If convicted, Gibson, his employees and Sullivan could face up to 20 years in prison.

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