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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



JANUARY 22, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


CARL JUNCTION MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO $215,000

WIRE FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Carl Junction, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to a wire fraud and money laundering scheme in which he purchased 21 used cars at an auto auction for more than $215,000.


             Christopher Ryan King, 32, of Carl Junction, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England this afternoon to the charges contained in a Nov. 29, 2006, federal indictment.


             King admitted that he devised a scheme to defraud Adesa Auto Auction in Tulsa, Okla., by bidding $215,170 to purchase 21 vehicles at an auction on Jan. 28, 2005. King bought and sold used motor vehicles under the business name Auto Source from an office located in Joplin, Mo. He applied for the dealer license for the business in his wife’s name, because he was not eligible to obtain a dealer’s license in Missouri. In submitting the application for a dealer’s license, King included a false irrevocable letter of credit for $25,000 issued by a fictitious financial institution.


             Adesa Auto Auction initially declined to permit King to take possession of these motor vehicles because of concerns about his ability to pay for the motor vehicles. In order to convince Adesa Auto Auction to release the vehicles, King caused a business associate to call Adesa Auto Auction on the telephone and pretend to be a vice president with Bank of America. In the call, the business associate falsely represented that King had an unused line of credit of $500,000 with Bank of America. Based on this telephone call, Adesa Auto Auction released the vehicles to King.


            On Feb. 2, 2005, King caused 21 checks to be delivered to Adesa Auto Auction. Each check was in the amount of the bid price for a specific motor vehicle obtained on Jan. 28, 2005, and was tendered to Adesa Auto Auction as payment for that vehicle. At the time King caused these checks to be delivered to Adesa Auto Auction, he knew that there were insufficient funds in the bank account on which the checks were drawn to cover the checks.


            On Feb. 3, 2005, King called Adesa Auto Auction and inquired about the titles for the vehicles. Adesa Auto Auction informed King it would not release the titles to the vehicles to him until the checks cleared the bank or the bank confirmed in writing that King had funds to cover the checks. Later that day, King sent a letter from a facsimile machine in his Joplin office that falsely purported to be from a vice president of the bank. The letter falsely stated that Auto Source had a currently unused line of credit of $500,000 with the bank; in reality, neither Auto Source nor King had a line of credit or any other form of unused loan with Bank of America.


            On or about Feb. 4, 2005, King caused an individual to travel to Adesa Auto Auction, which released the titles to the vehicles. On or about Feb. 14, 2005, all 21 checks tendered as payment for the vehicles were returned to Adesa Auto Auction unpaid because of insufficient funds in the bank account on which the checks were drawn.


            King sold all of those vehicles but has not paid Adesa Auto Auction for the vehicles.


            On Jan. 28, 2005, King also bid on and obtained possession at Adesa Auto Auction of a few other motor vehicles in addition to the 21 vehicles described above. Adesa Auto Auction reacquired possession of these additional vehicles from King a short time after Feb. 14, 2005.


             King committed wire fraud, Schlozman explained, when he transmitted a letter that falsely purported to be from a Bank of America officer by facsimile machine from King’s office in Joplin to Adesa Auto Auction in Tulsa.


             King committed money laundering, Schlozman explained, when he engaged in a series of monetary transactions in which the proceeds of the sale of vehicles were deposited into various bank accounts. Those proceeds were derived from the wire fraud, and therefore represented criminally derived property.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html