CHARLESTON, WV (PRESS RELEAE)- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sought a court order to permanently shut down a used car dealership, seize any inventory remaining up for sale and force its owners to forfeit all proceeds from every vehicle they sold to refund consumers.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges four individuals played a part in operating two dealerships that misrepresented odometer readings and unlawfully sold vehicles “as is,” at times passing used cars onto the consumer with serious mechanical defects and fraudulent inspection stickers.
The Attorney General further alleges those involved did so without a state dealer’s license and in open violation of repeated cease and desist orders from the state Division of Motor Vehicles.
“Our state cannot tolerate such blatant disregard for the law,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Any business that circumvents the law must be dealt with accordingly, and this lawsuit demonstrates our commitment to protect consumers
The lawsuit centers on Richmond’s Quality Cars, LLC, and CMS Pre-Owned Auto Sales, LLC, both located along Big Tyler Road in Cross Lanes in western Kanawha County.
Defendant Karen Richmond, who had ownership in both companies, and Brian Richmond repeatedly sold used vehicles at the dealerships without a license to do so. In fact, the lawsuit noted both individuals’ criminal record and stated each failed in their attempts to gain a salesperson or dealer license.
The lawsuit cites six consumers to illustrate its allegations. One story involved a vehicle in such poor condition that a zip tie was used to hold down its hood. That vehicle was returned by the purchaser without a refund.
Other stories include allegations that the Richmonds taped over an odometer reading to pass off an 185,000-mile vehicle as 85,000, used worthless checks to refund the purchase of an unsafe vehicle and sold another without a title.
Most vehicles sold by the Richmonds were acquired, on paper, at auctions on behalf of other named defendants, for sale at dealerships in Huntington and Lewisburg, however the lawsuit states many were sold in Cross Lanes and in violation of state laws that prohibit such activity.
Corey Smith and Glenville Ratliff, respectively owners of CMS Pre-Owned Auto Sales in Huntington and Maplewood Auto Sales in Lewisburg, were included as defendants. Dealer licenses for both men were revoked last year.