A federal jury on Nov. 19 convicted the three co-owners of Big Red Dealerships of numerous fraud charges over the course of five years.
A federal jury of their peers found Norman residents Bobby Mayes, 49, Courtney Wells, 39, and Charles Gooch, 63, guilty of multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, issuing forged securities and illegal signing of checks, according to a Nov. 22 news release.
The jury found Mayes and Gooch guilty of 12 counts of wire fraud “based on false information sent to lenders for 12 specific customers,” while Wells was convicted on six of those counts, the release states. Each count carries up to 20 years in federal prison.
The defendants were also found guilty of six counts of issuing forged securities and six counts of illegal signing of checks in connection with Norman Pawn & Gun checks forged by Big Red employees. Each issuing forged securities count carries up to 10 years in prison; the illegal signing of checks counts carry “a mandatory term of imprisonment of two years to run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.”
Big Red Dealerships was based in Norman, and included Big Red Sports/Imports, Big Red Kia, Norman Yamaha, Norman Mitsubishi and Mayes Kia.
The defendants’ indictment accused the defendants of conspiring “to engage in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in which they sought to obtain millions of dollars of loan proceeds” from January 2014 to March 2019, the release states.
“The indictment further alleges the defendants made materially false statements and omissions to the lenders about the type, source and amount of borrowers’ down payments or vehicle trade-ins, and bribed at least one loan officer,” according to the release.
The three defendants are also accused of making down payments based on pawned items to Norman Pawn & Gun, a store never open for business and without employees. The shop was owned by Gooch and in a building owned by Mayes, the release states.
“After loan proceeds were received from lenders, Big Red Dealership employees generated checks to the customers, forged the customers’ signatures on the backs, deposited the checks in Big Red Dealership accounts and fully reimbursed Norman Pawn & Gun for the purported down payments,” the release states.
The defendants will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.