From the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office:
On 31 March 2011, Guy Christopher, 36, pled guilty to Theft over $1000 to under $10000 and forgery. He was ordered to pay restitution to Cook Volkswagen in the amount of $4,100.00 by August 30, 2011 and serve three days at the Harford County Detention Center. The case was handled by the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The defendant was employed as the finance manager at Cooks Volkswagen from May 1, 2010 through September 3, 2011. After taking a customer’s cash down payment he modified the sales contract after the customer left to reflect that there was no cash down payment, thus pocketing the money. On September 3, the defendant was terminated, for unrelated reasons and this particular deal, along with 14 others, were found in a file cabinet in the defendant’s office unprocessed. The new finance manager submitted the deal to the lender for processing on September 8, 2010. On September 14, 2010, the lender notified Cook Volkswagen that the deal was missing $2,700.00 in equity, as the contract reflected a trade in of $300.00 and financing was conditioned upon a $3,000.00 down payment. Cook Volkswagen requested that they return the contract, as they intended to seek alternate financing.
Shortly thereafter, the customer’s parents came into the dealership with concerns that their son did not receive a payment book for a vehicle purchased on August 13, 2010. It was at this point that the finance manager explained that there was an issue with the financing and asked if they had money to put down. The customer’s mother immediately said that she paid $3,000.00 cash to Guy Christopher on 8/14/10. The finance manager asked if she had a receipt, to which she responded in the affirmative, Guy Christopher had written “pd 8/14” directly on the contract. The finance manager then requested to see their paperwork. Upon receipt of that documentation, it was evident that the contract in Cook’s files was different than that which the customer executed and received. Specifically, the customer’s copy reflected a $3,000.00 down payment, as well as an extended warranty. The copy which Cook Volkswagen maintained reflected no down payment, no warranty, and the customer’s signature appeared to be forged. When Cook searched their records, there were no cash payments of $3,000.00 and the warranty which the customer paid for was not effective.
State’s Attorney Joe Cassilly recommended that any other customers who purchased a car from Cook during this time period and have a concern about payment or warranty should contact the dealership.