News and Press Releases

Gettysburg Auto Exchange Owner and Manager Charged with Fraud Against Charities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2011

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced today that a criminal Information was filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg today against William C. Stake, age 40, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the owner of Gettysburg Auto Exchange and a second Information was filed against David R. Burk, age 64, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the General Manager of the Gettysburg Auto Exchange, in connection with crimes committed against charities and supporters of charitable causes.

     According to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, Stake and Burk were charged with operating and conspiring to operate a scheme to defraud charities who used the Gettysburg Auto Exchange to sell vehicles donated by private individuals for charitable causes.

     Gettysburg Auto Exchange agreed to assist non-profit organizations that solicited the public to donate used vehicles to charities. The charities would then arrange with various used car dealers/auctions to sell the donated vehicle and to send the proceeds from the sale to the charities, which would then distribute the funds to the particular charitable causes and institutions.

     The non-profit charities entered into agreements with Gettysburg Auto Exchange to collect, transport and sell donated used vehicles and to send the proceeds to the charities, with the transportation fee and selling fee deducted from the proceeds by the Gettysburg Auto Exchange.

     Stake, assisted by Burk, allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud both the charities and the donors of the used vehicles by selling the vehicles and keeping a significant portion of the proceeds of the sale for himself. Stake allegedly created fictitious bills of sale indicating that the vehicles had been sold at less than the actual price. These fictitious bills of sale were then sent to the victim charities as proof that they had received the full sale price of the donated vehicle. As a result, the charities were allegedly defrauded of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

     If convicted, Stake faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and a maximum term of supervised release of up to three years. Burk faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and a maximum term of supervised release of up to three years.

     The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod has been assigned to prosecute the case.

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An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

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