Former car dealer charged with fraud

FLINT — Edward Frank Usewick III of Flint has been charged in an alleged bank fraud scheme involving several now defunct car dealerships.

Usewick is facing federal charges which claim he used local car dealerships to organize a bank fraud scheme. He pleaded not guilty Nov. 19 in Flint U.S. District Court where he was arraigned on 20-counts of bank fraud and conspiracy charges.

Federal prosecutors said beginning in December 2011, Usewick and an unidentified co-conspirator entered into an agreement with Suski Chevrolet-Buick in Birch Run to operate a string of used car dealerships around Flint and Lapeer under the Suski name.

Andy Suski, owner of Suski Chevrolet- Buick, said in January 2014 he was closing the five area dealerships in the Flint area, citing “management problems.” According to state officials, Suski was the dealership license holder for the Suski Used Car lots. Suski and his business partner received a payment for each car sold at the five Suski Used Cars locations.

Federal prosecutors claim Usewick used the Suski Used Car dealerships to secure a revolving line of credit from Ally Financial, to purchase vehicles to sell at the dealerships.

Steven Fishman, an attorney for Usewick, could not be reached for comment at press time.

Court records show the financing typically involved lenders releasing additional funding to the dealerships once it received a title showing the dealership had purchased a vehicle. Usewick allegedly submitted titles to Ally Financial for cars he claimed to have purchased, in exchange for money deposited into a bank account operated by Usewick.

Prosecutors allege, however, Usewick never actually purchased the vehicles and the titles were fraudulent. In all, prosecutors allege he submitted 19 fraudulent titles for vehicles over a three-month period in late-2013. It is not known how much money was involved.

The indictment does not say how much money was involved.

The state said it became aware of irregularities in January 2014 after complaints arose regarding title work from the dealerships.

The Suski used car lots were located in Lapeer, Flint, Fenton, Mt. Morris and Holly. No complaints were lodged against Suski’s dealership in Birch Run.

Usewick was accused of being involved in a used car scam in Massachusetts in 2010, where he and three others were charged with obtaining vehicles from a leasing company and selling them through a Flint car auction using duplicate titles.

Authorities alleged the leasing company that provided the vehicles to Usewick never was paid for the cars.

Usewick pleaded guilty in to six misdemeanor counts of producing fraudulent titles for the commission of a crime and was sentenced to two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution.

Usewick was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond for the current charges. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 25.

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