36-year-old James Hensley was the owner and president of Knoxville Auto Brokers in Knoxville, Tennessee, from 2012 until the day he shut his business down last April.
When Hensley closed his doors for good he allegedly left some of the clients of his establishment with financial problems because he accepted trade-in vehicles from them with the understanding that the car dealership would finish paying off any outstanding balances owed on those automobiles. When he did not comply with the contractual agreements to make the payments the original owners were sent bills for the amount that was still owed.
Six months after Knoxville Auto Brokers went out of business Hensley had his license allowing him to sell cars in Tennessee revoked by the state based on charges alleging that he failed to provide a total of 24 titles to the new owners of vehicles that customers had purchased from him.
Hensley was taken into custody on Thursday when special agents from the Tennessee Department of Revenue showed up at his home after investigating his alleged fraudulent behaviors.
The Knox County Grand Jury officially charged Hensley with 12 felony counts of sales tax fraud and one felony count of theft of property over $10,000 at his indictment hearing on Tuesday. He was issued a bond of $50,000.
Each of the 12 fraud charges holds a maximum penalty of two years of incarceration and fines of up to $3000, and Hensley could face additional penalties of up to six years in jail and $10,000 in fines for the felony theft charge.
It is legally required for car dealerships to obtain surety bonds to protect their customers’ investments and Hensley was reported as having a surety bond in the amount of $50,000 which will be used to make restitution to some of the people who were financially impacted by the situation.
If you or someone you love is suspected of fraud, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.