Kentucky Woman Pleads Guilty in $4 Million Warranty Fraud Scheme

July 16, 2020

By: Staff Report PR

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Tammy Newsome, 54, of Ashland, Kentucky, entered a guilty plea to mail fraud for her role in a scheme to defraud Toyota of more than $4.3 million, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Newsome joins three other individuals who previously entered guilty pleas for their roles in the fraud scheme.

Newsome faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on October 15, 2020, and will be required to pay restitution of up to $4.3 million to Toyota. 

“Newsome played a critical role in perpetrating this $4 million fraud scheme,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “I commend the great investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the W.V. State Police, and the W.V. Insurance Commissioner. Toyota may have suffered the loss but, ultimately, it’s consumers who really pay. These fraud schemes rip off every consumer. That’s why we work so hard to hold those responsible accountable.”

Newsome was employed as an administrative assistant for a Kentucky used car dealership, Big Blue Motor Sales, which bought trucks at wholesale prices at auction, obtained hundreds of copies of Kentucky and West Virginia residents’ driver’s licenses, fraudulently titled the trucks in the name of those residents, and induced Toyota to repurchase the trucks at 150% of value.

The scheme relied on Newsome to make false representations to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain false vehicle titles in the names of false owners. The titles obtained by Newsome were then used by other scheme participants to induce Toyota to repurchase the vehicles. Newsome admitted that she made false representations to the DMV, delivered cash bribes to other scheme participants, and forged signatures of false owners so that checks issued by Toyota in the name of a false owner could be deposited into Big Blue Motor Sales’ bank account.

The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Former Assistant United States Attorney Stefan Hasselblad and Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew J. Tessman and Steven I. Loew are handling the prosecution.

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