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Former Milan Used Car Dealers Plead Guilty to Bank Fraud

May 11, 2012

Rock Island, Ill. – The former owners of a Milan, Ill., used car business known as Blackhawk Auto, Jens, 45, and Pamela A. Hirsch, 55, both of the 2800 block of 27th Street, Rock Island, Ill., each pled guilty today to one count each of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and making a false statement to a bank. Sentencing is scheduled on September 14, 2012.

According to court documents and during today’s hearing, the two defendants admitted that in their respective business positions, Jens, as president, and Pamela as vice-president and secretary of Strategic Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Blackhawk Auto, they defrauded a Milan bank in 2007. Blackhawk Auto, located at 1920 East First Avenue, Milan, had an agreement with the bank for a line of credit of $1.5 million to purchase vehicles for resell on its lot. Upon sale of the vehicles, Blackhawk Auto was to repay the bank the outstanding balance for the respective vehicle. Instead, Jens and Pamela admitted they repeatedly and intentionally failed to repay the bank and diverted the sale proceeds to other uses. As a result, according to court documents, the loss to the bank was more than $400,000 but less than $1,000,000. The defendants also admitted submitting false financial statements to the bank, and Jens admitted making false statements to bank personnel during bank inventory inspections to check for the presence of financed vehicles on the car lot.

The penalty for each of the offenses, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and making a false statement, is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000; however, the plea agreements between the defendants and the government in this case, if accepted by the court, will determine the actual sentence.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John K. Mehochko.

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