Four El Reno Residents Sentenced in Fraudulent Vehicle Cash-Back Scheme
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Today, RICHARD M. ARNOLD SR. (a/k/a/ "Rick Arnold"), 62; RICHARD M. ARNOLD II, (a/k/a/ "Ricky Arnold"), 29; ROBERT W. ARNOLD, 26; and ROBYN R. ARNOLD, 57, all of El Reno, Oklahoma, were sentenced for conspiracy and wire fraud, announced Mark A. Yancey, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. All were charged with conspiring to defraud new car purchasers out of cash included in loan proceeds based on false representations that a charitable trust would make all of the victims’ monthly car payments. The first three defendants received sentences of 54, 29 and 27 months in prison respectively. Robyn Arnold was ordered to serve five years of supervised release.
Ricky Arnold pled guilty to conspiracy on March 24, 2015; Rick and Robyn Arnold pled guilty on May 11, 2015. Robert Arnold, however, pled not guilty and went to trial before the Honorable Timothy D. DeGiusti on May 26, 2015. The evidence at trial showed that from May of 2013 through April of 2014, the defendants informed their acquaintances, family members, and friends that they could become beneficiaries of a program operated by a charitable trust designed to help working people acquire new cars. The defendants claimed that "CECU Trust" financed the program, which was also called the "United Auto Buyers Co-op Association."
Rick Arnold, Ricky Arnold, and Robert Arnold met car purchasers interested in the program at various car dealerships and arranged for purchases on credit that would include cash paid back to the buyers of $4,000 to $12,000 per car. In some instances, defendants caused victims’ loan applications to include fraudulently inflated income. Defendants told the car buyers that the rebate money would have to be given to the defendants for deposit into CECU Trust, which would then pay the buyers’ car loans in their entirety.
After the car purchases were complete, one or more of the defendants met the car buyers in a public place, such as a coffee shop or a bank, to receive the proceeds of the cash-back finance transactions. That money was deposited into bank accounts controlled by Robyn Arnold. Much of the money was used for personal expenses. Defendants also asked buyers to sign powers of attorney as well as proposed agreements advising the buyers that the association’s success depended on the buyers referring new participants to the program.
When various lenders notified buyers of potential defaults, defendants either assured the buyers that the payments would be made or stated that the trust would be unable to make further payments unless the buyers recruited additional participants.
The jury convicted Robert Arnold of conspiracy and wire fraud after hearing more than two days of testimony.
Today Judge DeGiusti sentenced all four defendants. They received the following sentences:
Rick Arnold: 54 months in prison, plus 4 years of supervised release
Ricky Arnold: 29 months in prison, plus 2 years of supervised release
Robert Arnold: 27 months in prison, plus 2 years of supervised release
Robyn Arnold: ordered to serve 5 years of supervised release
Rick Arnold’s sentence included an upward adjustment for his leadership role. All four sentences were based on loss amounts of more than $250,000. The court will determine a precise restitution amount within 60 days.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Public Protection Unit of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott E. Williams and Kate Holey.