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Friday, 19 June 2015 00:00

NJ Man Sentenced for Using Conterfeit Checks to Steal 19 Cars from Auto Auction

A Newark, N.J., man was sentenced to state prison on June 8 for using false identities and nearly $340,000 in counterfeit or bad checks to buy 19 cars from an online auto auction company.

Keith L. Hutcheson Jr., 27, of Newark, N.J., was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He pleaded guilty on April 21 to second-degree theft by deception and third-degree forgery. Hutcheson was required to enter a civil consent judgment to pay $212,000 in restitution to the auto auction company, Copart Inc. The company previously recovered a number of the vehicles, which reduced the amount of restitution owed.

The state’s investigation revealed that from September through December 2013, Hutcheson used the aliases of “Mark Hooper” and “Bassem Wallace” to purchase 19 cars online from Copart.com, including seven Mercedes Benz vehicles, a Porsche and a BMW. He paid for the cars with counterfeit or bad checks totaling $339,782, including a check for $199,023 for multiple vehicles that purportedly was issued by a car dealership. Many of the cars were salvage or storm-damaged vehicles. Hutcheson arranged for the vehicles to be transported to New Jersey, where he resold a number of them in cash sales to unsuspecting buyers.

“This con artist sold storm-damaged vehicles to unsuspecting buyers and financed his crooked venture entirely with bad checks,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “We’ve put him in prison where he no longer can steal from legitimate car dealers or put consumers at risk by selling potentially dangerous cars.”

“Hutcheson audaciously wrote hundreds of thousands of dollars in bad checks to this online auction company and sold car purchasers some high-end lemons, but his greed ultimately caught up with him,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “By cracking down on white collar crime, we protect both businesses and consumers.”

Hutcheson was arrested by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice on May 13, 2014, on charges of theft by deception and identity theft.

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