PHOENIX — A Phoenix used car salesman is facing felony charges after reportedly stealing from local car dealerships and their customers.
Officials with the Arizona Department of Transportation said Eduardo Rodriguez is accused of selling cars to customers and after collecting cash payments, kept the money for himself instead of turning the cash into his employer.
Rodriguez is also accused of selling the same car to more than one customer and pocketing the cash payments. He would also sell customers bogus warranty policies, ADOT officials said.
In one of the alleged scams, Rodriguez sold a 2009 Audi to a couple for $8,500 in October 2021.
When the couple returned the car for a repair, they allegedly paid Rodriguez an additional $1,100 for bogus warranty and insurance fees not offered by the dealership, court records show.
In the meantime, Rodriguez allegedly resold the Audi to another customer. When the couple asked about their car, the defendant offered a refund and to sell them a 2010 Mercedes Benz for $6,000.
Two weeks after the purchase, the dealership repossessed the Mercedes. The couple allegedly lost up to $15,500 from the scam, court records show.
Officials said Rodriguez also purchased a vehicle from one of the dealers he worked for and financed it. A few days after buying the vehicle, Rodriguez reportedly sold the vehicle privately. Because Rodriguez defaulted on the loan, his former employer was required to buy the vehicle back, according to ADOT.
In another case, Rodriguez allegedly convinced a customer to make weekly car payments to Rodriguez directly, promising them the money would go to the lender.
Court records show the customer allegedly paid $5,000 in weekly payments to Rodriguez before realizing the money wasn't going toward paying off their loan.
Rodriguez's employers eventually discovered the thefts and reported him to authorities.
Rodriguez was arrested and charged with fraud schemes, theft and forgery.
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