Charles Allen, 41, of Saratoga, pleaded not guilty Thursday to his role in a cash and car scheme at Garvey Hyundai in Plattsburgh.
"There were a number of vehicles, 24, that were transferred to ACR Motors and they were never paid for," Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Timothy Blatchley said.
Those vehicles had a retail value of $136,000. Allen would then allegedly sell them through his car wholesale company. Prosecutors say his employee, Richard Bashant, 32, arranged the delivery of the cars from Julie Perry, 51, of Altona, the office manager at Garvey Hyundai in Plattsburgh.
"They have purchased cars through Garvey Hyundai and they met just through their business relationship," Blatchley said.
Prosecutors would not say why the two men agreed to work with Perry in her scheme that they say netted her $1.4 million in assets over the past 5 years. Police say $1 million of that was in cash by faking car sale documents.
"When people were paying for vehicles with a check from a credit union or bank she would take those checks and white out the names and the dates, then type in her name," Blatchley explained.
And they say she made another $400,000 by stealing more than 30 vehicles.
"She was able to obtain vehicles and make it appear that she purchased them-- she never had. When she didn't want the vehicle anymore she was able to bring the vehicle back and get a trade in for a vehicle she never purchased. And when I say trade in I mean cash," Blatchley said.
Prosecutors say the scheme was noticed when the owner of Garvey Hyundai based in Queensbury noted that of the handful of dealerships he owns, the Plattsburgh location was the only one not making a profit even though he was in town regularly. At the request of investigators and prosecutors, the owner of Garvey Hyundai declined comment for the story.
"Could it have been caught sooner? Yes. Could it never have been caught? Yes. She was doing that good of a job," Blatchley said.
Prosecutors declined to say whether they expect to make any more arrests in the case.
Perry is free on bail. Allen and Bashant are free on their own recognizance.