Auto dealer gets max penalty in Oregon
SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)- An Oregon auto dealership has been ordered to pay $650,000 in fines for deceiving customers about the damage history of its vehicles, state Attorney General John Kroger announced on Monday.
The case involved Matt Marlin and Anousone Marlin. Matt Marlin had previously lost his dealership license to operate Marlin Motorworks after admitting that he forged title documents in order to deceive consumers about the damage history of "totaled" vehicles. He then created PNW Auto LLC in his wife Anousone Marlin's name.
"This sends an important message that there is a steep penalty for violating consumer protection laws in Oregon," Kroger said.
Misconduct and violations continued at the new dealership, including violations of Internet advertising rules on motorcycle sales. They listed several on Craigslist.com as "never crashed" when they were actually "totaled."
The "totaled" vehicles had several thousand dollars in damaged parts documented by the insurance companies. PNW, however, would routinely spend a few hundred dollars on repairs and leave the frame, wheels and handlebars of the motorcycles unrepaired. Two motorcycles PNW sold to unsuspecting consumers had "Non-Repairable Titles," meaning they could not be licensed in Oregon.
A Marion County judge fined the Marlins $650,000 last week, which is the maximum penalty of $25,000 per violation under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, as well as attorney fees and costs.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Greg Smith handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice. The Driver and Motor Vehicle Services helped investigate the case.