Another fraud incident recently surfaced involving two dealerships with the investigation spreading into two states.
The Arizona Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General made an arrest following an investigation that revealed a Nissan dealership employee stole a customer’s identity to purchase a vehicle at another store.
According to a news release, state officials said the scheme began last March. They said Randall Cepi concocted a scheme to use the personal information of a customer at Tate’s Auto Group Nissan where he was employed in Winslow, Ariz., to purchase a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette from a dealership in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Arizona officials said the victim came into the Nissan dealership where Cepi worked and bought a new half-ton pickup. About a week later, Cepi used her personal information to obtain a loan to buy the Corvette. He arranged to have the victim’s signature forged on the dealership and financing documents, according to the news release.
A few weeks later, officials said the victim became aware of the scheme when she received insurance and financing information for a vehicle she did not purchase. She filed a complaint with ADOT’s Office of Inspector General, and detectives with the dealer investigation unit opened an investigation.
The dealership in Flagstaff was made aware of the situation and called Cepi, demanding that he return the Corvette. Instead, he abandoned the sports car at the dealership in Winslow where he worked and disappeared.
While searching for Cepi, ADOT detectives brought the case before a grand jury where the felony warrant was issued.
Officials said Cepi was found working at a dealership in Gallup, N.M., where he was arrested by local authorities on July 29. He will be extradited to Arizona to face charges of fraud schemes and forgery, theft of means of transportation and taking the identity of another.
In addition to identity theft, detectives with ADOT’s Office of Inspector General also investigate fraud involving vehicle title and registration, licensed and unlicensed dealers and support investigations by state, local and federal law enforcement.