Used automotive vendor bilked 120 disabled individuals in gross sales of wheelchair-accessible vans, feds say

Used car dealer bilked 120 disabled people in sales of wheelchair-accessible vans, feds say


A Philadelphia used automotive vendor took disabled clients’ cash however didn’t ship the wheelchair-accessible autos they’d paid for, victimizing greater than 100 individuals throughout the nation, federal prosecutors mentioned Thursday.

Edward Scott Rock, 47, defrauded clients of greater than $2.5 million between 2019 and this yr, in accordance with the U.S. legal professional’s workplace in Philadelphia.

In a single case, he bought the identical 2017 Ford wheelchair-accessible van to 13 consumers over the course of almost a yr, amassing $260,000 alongside the way in which — and when he lastly did ship the automobile to a kind of consumers, it got here with out the right title, prosecutors mentioned in an indictment unsealed Thursday.

A message was left at a cellphone quantity related to Rock looking for remark, and an e mail was despatched to an legal professional who represented him earlier than his indictment.

Some 120 clients in 36 states fell sufferer to the alleged rip-off. About two-thirds of Rock’s victims had been “individuals with a bodily or mobility incapacity, individuals over the age of 65, or companies which supplied transportation providers to these populations,” the U.S. legal professional’s workplace mentioned in a information launch.

David Sodemann, co-founder of Boho Camper Vans, an organization in Tempe, Arizona, that builds, hire and sells camper vans, mentioned he wired Rock about $25,000 for 2 Ford cargo vans. Just a few months later, when the autos had not arrived, Sodemann started asking for the cash again.

“It was an enormous mess for a very long time,” Sodemann recalled in a cellphone interview Thursday. “He all the time had some excuse. He would take footage of him sending the cash again FedEx, nevertheless it by no means obtained dropped within the mail. It was all only a large present.”

It took virtually two years of near-daily cellphone calls and Sodemann’s firm getting a lawyer concerned, however Rock lastly returned the cash, Sodemann mentioned.

Many different clients weren’t so fortunate, in accordance with the indictment. After negotiating with Rock — typically in particular person however most frequently through cellphone, e mail and textual content — consumers would ship Rock tens of 1000’s of {dollars} for wheelchair-accessible vans that he by no means delivered, prosecutors alleged.

Rock typically despatched refund checks, however he’d both cease cost on them or they might bounce, the indictment mentioned.

Rock was charged with three counts every of mail and wire fraud and one rely of mail fraud affecting a monetary establishment. The costs carry a most sentence of 170 years in jail. Prosecutors are additionally looking for restitution.

Rock’s license to promote vehicles in Pennsylvania expired in Might, in accordance with state information.


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