Juneau car dealer, assistant plead guilty to fraud

Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- A former consignment car dealer and his top sales manager pleaded guilty Monday to charges they defrauded customers.

Curtis McQueen, 36, former owner of the defunct McQueen Motors, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Juneau to one count of mail fraud.

Other charges, including 13 additional counts of mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

McQueen's former sales manager, Kenneth Hill, 35, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud. Four counts of mail and wire fraud and one conspiracy charge were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

McQueen devised a scheme to defraud consignment customers between July 1999, when his lot opened, and December 2001, authorities said. The mail and wire fraud charges stemmed from the two using the U.S. mail and the telephone to complete fraudulent deals.

According to court records, McQueen would contract to sell vehicles for a price on consignment in exchange for an agreed-upon fee paid to the dealership, usually $900. However, McQueen and Hill sometimes sold vehicles for a higher price, reported a lower price to the seller, and kept the difference.

According to prosecutors, McQueen and Hill defrauded 14 people of between $120,000 and $200,000.

McQueen closed his Glacier Highway lot early last year and moved with his family to Wasilla, where he is employed, defense attorney Louis Menendez said in a July interview with the Juneau Empire.

Sentencing hearings for Hill and McQueen are scheduled for March 28 before U.S. District Court Judge James Singleton and federal Magistrate Philip Pallenberg, respectively.

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