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Press Release

Four Sentenced In Scheme To Defraud Nissan

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Tennessee

Wendell Young, 34, of Inglewood, Calif., Adrian Franklin, 40, of Chandler, Arizona, Francisco DeLaRosa, 42, of West Covina, Calif. and Tracey Young, 46, of Los Angeles, have been sentenced by United States District Court Judge William Haynes for their participation in a money laundering scheme to defraud Nissan, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  All defendants pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Yesterday, Tracey Young was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, to be followed by six months in a half-way house and ordered to pay $191,250 in restitution to Nissan.  DeLaRosa was sentenced to five months in a half-way house, during which time he will be required to serve two days each week in a local correctional facility, to be followed by five months of house arrest and ordered to pay $31,500 in restitution to Nissan.

On May 30, 2014, Wendell Young was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $191,250 in restitution to Nissan.  On June 6, 2014, Adrian Franklin was ordered to serve three years of supervised release, including 10 months in a halfway house, during which time he will be required to serve weekends in a local correctional facility.  Franklin was also ordered to pay $191,250 in restitution to Nissan.  

Two additional defendants, Bruce Young and Kenneth Carter, are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Haynes in August 2014.  

The scheme originated from Kenneth Carter, a former Nissan employee who was employed at Nissan’s Franklin, Tennessee headquarters as an “Arbitration Specialist” from March 2007 through April 2008.  As Arbitration Specialist, Carter’s duties included negotiating with attorneys who brought claims on behalf of Nissan owners, alleging that Nissan had violated “Lemon Laws” or the “Federal Warranty Act.” 

Between March 2007 and April 2008, Carter, along with Wendell Young, Adrian Franklin, Tracey Young, Francisco DeLaRosa, and others, engaged in a scheme to defraud Nissan by filing false Lemon Law claims on behalf of individuals who owned Nissan vehicles. 

The defendants provided Carter with information obtained from Nissan owners, such as the owner’s name, address, and vehicle identification number.  Carter then used the information to file false and fraudulent Lemon Law claims with Nissan requesting settlement checks.  Once Carter approved the false claims he would cause settlement checks to be issued.  Defendants Wendell Young, Adrian Franklin, Tracey Young, and Francisco DeLaRosa then directed the Nissan owners to deposit the checks into their bank accounts or to cash the checks and then “kick-back” a portion of the funds received from Nissan. A portion of the funds were then paid to Carter, and the remaining funds were kept by Wendell Young, Adrian Franklin, and Tracey Young.

 According to charging documents, between March 2007 and April 2008, Carter caused approximately 80 false claims to be paid by Nissan, totaling approximately $571,500.

The case was investigated by the IRS? Criminal Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Ward Booth represents the government.
Updated March 19, 2015