The prosecutor's office in Westchester County, N.Y., has indicted two former employees of a Hyundai dealership on charges of grand larceny and fraud.
Defendant Israel Viloria, 39, a former used-car manager for New Rochelle Hyundai, was arraigned Jan. 16 in front of Judge David Zuckerman. James Castellano, 52, a former office manager for the dealership, was arraigned Feb. 5 in front of Judge Susan Cacace, according to a press release issued on Thursday, Feb. 6.
The indictment alleges the men defrauded JPMorgan Chase out of $700,000 and New Rochelle Hyundai out of more than $500,000 between around Sept. 28, 2016, and July 14, 2017.
"The cash flow into New Rochelle Hyundai accounts helped cover up the actual theft of vehicles which Viloria and Castellano were selling on the side," the press release said.
Leader in Cars Automotive Group, which owns New Rochelle Hyundai, plans to file a civil suit against employees they allege were involved in the scheme after seeing the results of the criminal case, company President Jordan Daiagi told Automotive News in an email.
"Not only did the fraud cost the dealership money, but the employees who perpetrated the scheme were longtime friends of many employees in the group," Daiagi said in the email. "The embezzlement sent shockwaves throughout our organization and resulted in myriad new procedures that increased employee oversight and limited managerial autonomy."
JPMorgan Chase, in an email to Automotive News, declined to comment on the indictments.
"Our dealership group operates as a family-run organization that values its employees, its customers and its partners," Daiagi said in an emailed statement. "When we discovered that trusted members of our company's team exploited these relationships for their selfish gains, we had no choice but to bring them to justice. This was even more important when we learned that they continued these criminal schemes at other dealerships and that they were still actively defrauding customers prior to their recent arrest."
Both Castellano and Viloria were released after their arraignments and are scheduled to appear in court later this year.
Viloria is listed on LinkedIn as the used-car director for Yonkers Kia in New York. The dealership did not respond to requests for comment.
"It is our hope that the time and effort we put into assisting the Westchester County District Attorney's office will ensure that Castellano and Viloria never have the opportunity to take advantage of innocent people ever again," Daiagi added.
Automotive News could not reach the defendants' lawyers for comment.