A former Juneau consignment used-car dealer and his sales manager were indicted Monday by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on multiple charges of defrauding their customers.
Curtis McQueen, owner of the defunct McQueen Motors on Glacier Highway, was charged with 14 counts of mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Kenneth Hill, dealership sales manager from October 1999 to October 2001, was charged with eight counts of mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.
The men are accused of devising a scheme to defraud consignment customers between July 1999 and December 2001. Mail and wire fraud charges stem from the two allegedly using the U.S. mail and the telephone to complete fraudulent deals.
The indictment alleges that the two 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 allegedly would sell the vehicles for a higher price, report a lower price to the seller and keep the difference, on top of their fee.
According to the indictment, McQueen and Hill defrauded 14 people of about $130,000.
In November the FBI received a federal search warrant for McQueen Motors' records. In its application for the warrant, the FBI detailed its suspicions about many sales. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler declined comment on why it took eight months to obtain an indictment.
Special Agent Mary Beth Kepner, lead investigator for the FBI in the case, declined comment on the indictment.
McQueen closed his Glacier Highway lot earlier this year and moved out of town. Defense attorney Louis Menendez, who represents McQueen, said McQueen and his wife are living in Wasilla and are employed.
"This matter will be set for trial in the immediate future and at the end of it Mr. McQueen will be found not guilty on all counts," Menendez said.
Loeffler and Kepner said they don't know if Hill has an attorney. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Hill is a Juneau resident. Hill's phone number is unlisted and he could not be reached for comment.
If convicted, McQueen and Hill could get up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and have to pay restitution.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.