A former Oklahoma Kia and Mitsubishi dealer awaiting sentencing for 2021 fraud convictions faces three new charges of tampering with official proceedings.
Authorities allege former Big Red Dealerships owner Bobby Mayes, of Norman, Okla., worked with co-defendant Courtney Wells on her alleged escape to Mexico prior to sentencing. Mayes also allegedly tried to obtain a new trial by fabricating evidence and sending an anonymous email to the Western District of Oklahoma Court with false information, according to a Feb. 7 indictment.
Mayes, Wells and fellow defendant Charles Gooch were originally found guilty Nov. 19, 2021, of charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud, forgery and aggravated identity theft. Federal prosecutors said Mayes' group — which consisted of Big Red Sports/Imports, Big Red Kia, Norman Yamaha, Norman Mitsubishi and Mayes Kia — used a variety of deceptions from January 2014 to March 2019 to convince lenders to issue loans to customers with poor or no credit, a demographic the business had targeted.
The jury convicted Mayes and Gooch on all 25 counts they faced. Wells was convicted on 19 of 25 charges; she was acquitted on six of the 12 wire fraud counts she faced.
Mayes, Gooch and Wells subsequently petitioned the court to have their convictions changed to acquittals and also filed requests for new trials. Hearings were scheduled on both issues for May 10, 2022.
On May 9, Mayes' attorney told the court new evidence had been found by Mayes' employees.
The defense said a folder had been found a couple days earlier in Wells' workspace containing emails that "reveal a conspiracy between [a government witness] and Ms. Wells to falsify total loss letters, bribe [a loan officer], steal from the dealership, overvalue pawn items, conduct in-and-outs, and most importantly conceal it all from Mr. Mayes."
The defense filing stated Mayes also checked his personal email account May 10 "and discovered an email from Ms. Wells, dated May 3, 2022, which can only be described as a confession to the crimes for which the defendants were convicted."
Meanwhile, Wells and her husband, Brandon Landers, had left the country, reaching Texas on May 2, 2022, and crossing into Mexico the following day, prosecutors alleged. Both were arrested Oct. 24, 2022, in Mexico. Mayes was arrested Oct. 25, 2022.
"[Landers and Wells] individually confirmed that Mr. Mayes was involved in the planning of their flight and indeed the plan was for all three of them to leave and go to Mexico in May," the U.S. attorney's office wrote in an Oct. 12, 2022, request to arrest Mayes.
Both Wells and Landers also called the emails cited by Mayes fake, according to authorities. The U.S. attorney's office said it was able to confirm this for at least the May 3 emails, which were allegedly shown to have been written after Wells left Mayes' workplace.
Mayes' attorneys have not yet responded to a request for comment.
Both Wells and Mayes have had their presentencing releases revoked.
Wells' attorneys from Adler Markoff & Associates said in a Feb. 23 written statement that their client is thankful "that the truth is coming out," and she looks forward to paying "her debt to society" and moving on with the rest of her life.