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State AG office shuts down car dealer
Rochester, N.Y. - The State Attorney Generals Office said Frontier Autohaus defrauded close to 50 customers by not paying off loans on trade-ins before re-selling them.
The dealership, under owner Shawn Minnehan, is also accused of giving customers temporary registration stickers so they wouldnt complain when they couldnt register their cars.
Investigators said the dealership failed to produce original titles, so buyers had no idea there were liens owed on the cars until the bank came knocking at the door.
Steve Palozzi was one of those customers who said he was taken for a ride by Minnehan.
Palozzi said he bought a 2000 Jaguar XJR from Minnehan when he owned a different dealership, so when it came time to sell the used luxury car, Palozzi trusted Minnehan to sell it at his dealership, Frontier Autohaus.
Palozzi said he didnt hear anything for weeks, then months. When he went to the dealership he said he noticed there were fewer cars and employees. The next time he went, the business was shut down.
Thats when he learned that the State Attorney Generals Office had shut down the place so others wouldnt be victimized.
Steve said he considered his car gone forever but was surprised when he was told they got the car back. He said he still had the title to the car which probably made the buyer realize something was wrong when he couldnt register it.
The AGs office said the dealer also allegedly took money for registrations that were never processed and for extended warranties that were never purchased.
Benjamin Bruce of the State Attorney Generals Office in Rochester said buyers should always ask for the original title when buying a used car and the payoff notice from the bank indicating the loan has been paid in full.
Bruce said if the dealer cant produce that paperwork, something isnt right. Under law, dealers have 21 days to pay off loans on trade-ins; in this case, Bruce said it wasnt happening at all.
Palozzi called it an out of control pyramid scheme that wound up hurting a lot of people. He is happy to get his car back and now just might keep it for a while.
In addition to shutting down the business and ordering restitution from Minnehan, the Attorney Generals Office also issued a permanent injunction preventing him from ever operating a car dealership in New York State.