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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


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


APRIL 10, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER CAR DEALERSHIP MANAGER

PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former general manager of a Kansas City, Mo., car dealership pleaded guilty in federal court today to a wire fraud scheme that involved falsifying paperwork on car leases in order to obtain higher commissions for himself.


            Duane C. Clark, 55, of Kansas City, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith this afternoon to a federal information that charges him with wire fraud.


            Clark, formerly employed as general manager of John Chezik Homerun, Inc, d/b/a John Chezik Honda, admitted that from April 3, 2000, through June 14, 2004, he fraudulently altered car lease worksheets and contracts by adding (or approving the addition of) dealer-installed options that were never actually installed. Those altered documents were then transmitted to American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC), a financial services company that provides customer financing for vehicles leased or purchased from Honda dealerships. AHFC, which offered financing to Chezik customers who leased or purchased vehicles, relied on those leases when loaning money to customers.


            The altered lease contracts showed the vehicle with an inflated value due to the dealer-installed options, fraudulently added by Clark, which did not exist. As a result, Clark and others received higher commission payments from Chezik. The total potential loss, as calculated from the altered lease worksheets, was approximately $62,230.


            Under federal statutes, Clark could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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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