Kroger suing car dealer

Keith Loria Mar. 16, 2011, 2:35am


SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline) - Oregon Attorney General John Kroger announced on Tuesday that he has filed a lawsuit against a car dealer who has allegedly been selling vehicles without a license.

Kroger alleges that Nicholas Butkovich has been unlawfully selling vehicles for at least four years. The suit also alleges that Butkovich has tampered with odometers, altered titles and falsified history reports on numerous vehicles, advertising these vehicles with the false information.

Butkovich was first fined $52,500 by the Department of Motor Vehicles for operating as a vehicle dealer without a license in 2008. The DMV contacted the Oregon Department of Justice.

The lawsuit alleges that Butkovich buys vehicles at auctions or from private owners and tries to sell them online claiming that the cars are for sale "by owner." Most of the sales have taken place at Butkovich's Happy Valley apartment complex or the parking lot of the Clackamas Town Center, Kroger says.

At least seven vehicles that Butkovich allegedly tampered with were uncovered in the past year. The suit also alleges that Butkovich used a fake name in several of his sales.

Kroger seeks a court order that would permanently ban Butkovich from purchasing or selling any vehicle in the state that is not for his personal use. Kroger also wants restitution for at least eight consumers and wants Butkovich to pay civil penalties and all fees associated with the litigation.

On March 1, Butkovich was arrested on unrelated charges and is currently being held in Clackamas County Jail. Butkovich also faces potential criminal charges for his alleged fraudulent actions.

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