News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

‘Advance Fee’ Scam Defrauds More than 50 Car Dealers of More Than $122,000

February 7, 2011

STEVEN P. DRURY, 47, of Vancouver, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for money laundering. Judge Benjamin H. Settle ordered DRURY to pay $219,000 in restitution to various car dealers who were victimized in the scheme.

In 2005, DRURY established Auto Credit Solutions. For three months during 2005 and 2006, the company marketed itself to used car dealers claiming that for a fee it would bundle a dealership’s car loans and market them to investors, essentially selling the car dealers’ collectable debt. For this service, Auto Credit Solutions required the auto dealers to pay Auto Credit Solutions the car buyers’ first two to three months’ payments. The company collected the fees, but never marketed the loans. In his plea agreement, DRURY agreed that Auto Credit Solutions had fraudulently charged more than 50 auto dealers $122,000. He also agreed to make restitution of $541,124 to auto dealers who had dealt with other similar businesses he had been charged with operating (including Sub-Prime Financial Services, Easy Credit Store, Instant Funding Systems, Great Northwest Financial Services, and Western Empire Financial Services). However, because not all of the dealerships could be identified from available records, the amount of restitution that could be ordered was $219,000.

DRURY was indicted April 15, 2010, and pleaded guilty August 3, 2010.

DRURY’s co-defendants who participated in the scheme face shorter prison terms. On November 22, 2010, Shannon Huggins, 33, of Vancouver, Washington, was sentenced to four months in prison and six months of home detention, with three years of supervised release. Ben King, 31, of Vancouver, Washington, will be sentenced on March 14, 2011. Both pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Vancouver Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm.


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