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Press Release

Kentucky Woman Sentenced to Prison for $4.3 Million Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An Ashland, Kentucky woman was sentenced today to one year and three months in prison for her role in a $4.3 million fraud scheme against Toyota Motor Corporation.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Tammy Newsome, 55, was ordered to serve 15 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $4,335,663 in restitution.

Newsome was employed as an administrative assistant for Kentucky used car dealership Big Blue Motor Sales, which bought trucks at wholesale prices at auction, obtained hundreds of copies of Kentucky and West Virginia residents’ driver’s licenses, and fraudulently titled the trucks in the name of those residents.

Newsome helped induce Toyota to repurchase hundreds of fraudulently titled trucks at 150% of value between 2013 and 2015, as part of a scheme to misuse its warranty extension program. The scheme relied on Newsome to make false representations to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain false vehicle titles in the names of false owners. The titles obtained by Newsome were then used by other scheme participants to induce Toyota to repurchase the vehicles.

Newsome admitted that she made false representations to the DMV, delivered cash bribes to other scheme participants, and forged signatures of false owners so that checks issued by Toyota in the name of a false owner could be deposited into Big Blue Motor Sales’ bank account.

Newsome pleaded guilty to mail fraud in July 2020. Three other individuals were sentenced to prison earlier this year for their roles in the scheme: James Pinson, 46, of Wayne County, the owner of Big Blue Motor Sales, to six years; Frank Russo, 69, of North Carolina, a Toyota dealership service manager, to two years; and Stanley Clark, 68, of Poca, a transfer agent, to one year and three months. All three were also ordered to pay restitution.

U.S. Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement. The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner investigated the case.

United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin imposed the sentence. Former Assistant United States Attorney Stefan Hasselblad and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew J. Tessman and Steven I. Loew prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 2:19-CR-00250, 2:19-cr-00222, and 2:20-cr-00028.  





Updated March 28, 2022