If convicted on the charges, each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison. - IMAGE: Pexels/Shane West

If convicted on the charges, each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison.

IMAGE: Pexels/Shane West

Three people were indicted on charges they conducted a fraud scheme against a Tennessee used-auto auction company.

A federal grand jury returned indictments on charges Jerry W. Hutchins and married couple Brian and Stephanie Louise Baker engaged in wire fraud and money laundering to defraud Dealers Auto Auction Group.

From February 2017 to November 2018, Stephanie Baker managed the group’s Murfreesboro location, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee. At the time, Hutchins and Brian Baker each owned a used-car dealership that did business with the group, and the three created transaction records of fake vehicle sales at the group’s auctions, getting paid for sales that never happened and pocketing the money for personal expenses, the attorney’s office said. Each month, the defendants generated more fake transactions of the same vehicles to cover their earlier fraud “and avoid detection,” it said, amassing more than $2 million in payments.

The defendants were taken into federal custody and made an initial appearance before a magistrate. If convicted on the charges, each faces up to 30 years in prison.

The grand jury included in its indictment an allegation seeking to forfeit property acquired from the alleged auction transactions, money judgements of more than $2 million from Stephanie Baker, more than $1 million from Brian Baker and nearly $685,000 from Hutchins.

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Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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