Former Auffenberg Employee Charged with Misappropriating Customer Funds
Robert M. Garcia, 54, of Maryland Heights, Mo. was charged in federal court with using the wires to conduct a scheme to defraud the Auffenberg Dealer Group, Inc. the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
Garcia was formerly employed as a finance manager for the Auffenberg Dealers Group in O’Fallon, Illinois, through April of 2011. As the finance manager, Robert M. Garcia handled payment transactions for customers’ purchases of pre-owned automobiles. The indictment alleges that Garcia misappropriated Auffenberg funds from vehicle sales to customers and then used other customer funds from future sales to make up the shortages of prior sales.
Wire fraud is a felony and carries a sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, a term of supervised release of 3 years, a special assessment of $100, and mandatory restitution.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and the O’Fallon Police Department with the assistance of the Auffenberg Dealer Group. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, that charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.