The Ohio attorney general is suing a used-car lot in suburban Columbus that allegedly bought new vehicles from franchised dealerships, sold them to consumers without titles and pocketed the proceeds.
The civil suit, filed this month, also names as defendants two franchised dealerships that prosecutors say helped "facilitate the fraud." But the general manager of one of the dealerships says his store was unaware of the alleged scheme, which he says cost the dealership $160,000.
A lawyer for the lead defendant, NAL Group Inc., of Grove City, Ohio, says his clients did not engage in fraud but were poor businessmen. He says the company closed last November and is broke.
The alleged scheme involves about 44 new and used vehicles. According to the state lawsuit, NAL Group and an affiliate, National Auto Lease, sold new vehicles although they were not licensed to do so. Both businesses operated out of a used-car dealership in Grove City.
Acting as a broker, NAL Group acquired new vehicles from franchised dealerships without paying for them, the suit says. It illegally resold the vehicles without providing titles, according to the suit.