Former Dealership Sales Associate Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A former car dealership sales associate alleged to have been responsible for more than $ 1 million in fraudulent vehicle sales pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

William Ray Turner, 31, of Tulsa, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

“William Turner exploited his position when he stole an identity and used it to submit a false loan application for the purchase of a vehicle. He then illegally profited from the crime by receiving a commission and selling the SUV to a personal acquaintance,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “This U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to fully prosecuting white collar criminals, like Turner, who defraud employers and the banking system.”

In his plea agreement, the former sales associate stated that on Sept. 14, 2020, he knowingly used identification belonging to another individual to submit a false loan application to Ally Bank for the purchase of a 2019 KIA Sorento in the approximate amount of $32,917 from Patriot Chevrolet. Turner stated that he received a commission for the purported sale of the vehicle, and after the sale was approved, he caused the Kia Sorrento to be transferred to an acquaintance who subsequently made payments to Turner via CashApp for the vehicle. Turner admitted that he acted with the intent to defraud the dealership.

According to the indictment initially filed in the case, from March 2019 to October 2021, Turner was employed at Patriot Chevrolet in Bartlesville. Turner sold cars, assisted customers in obtaining financing for the purchase of vehicles, and received commission payments for his sales. Starting in May 2020, Turner devised and carried out a scheme where he used stolen identities to purchase vehicles in those individuals’ names and sometimes sold the vehicles to other people for cash. The vehicles would then leave the dealership’s lot, and Turner would receive the commissions.

The U.S. Secret Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and Bartlesville Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard M. Cella and Melody Noble Nelson are prosecuting the case.