Monday, March 03, 2008

consumer - motor vehicle salespersons - licensing - false statements about financing

Howard v. State Board of Vehicle Salespersons - Commonwealth Court - February 29, 2008 -- unreported

The court upheld the revocation of the license of a motor vehicle salesperson, who had pleaded guilty to several crimes related to the sales of motor vehicles. The Board charged him with violating Section 19 of the Board of Vehicles Act, 63 P.S. sec. 818.19, which prohibits

a) making any substantial misrepresentation of material facts.
b) making any false promise of a character likely to influence, persuade or induce the sale of a vehicle.
c) having within five years prior to the application for or issuance of a license or while his current license is in force pleaded guilty . . . in a court of competent jurisdiction in this or any other state or Federal jurisdiction of forgery, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, bribery, odometer tampering or any other crime involving moral turpitude;
d) having failed or refused to account for moneys or other valuables belonging to others which have come into his possession arising out of the sale of vehicles. . . . .
e) having committed any act or engaged in conduct in connection with the sale of vehicles which clearly demonstrates unprofessional conduct or incompetency to operate as a licensee under this act.

In its decision, the Board said that it was especially concerned that the salesperson “knowingly misrepresented the financing portions of some vehicle transactions in order to take advantage of unsuspecting customers that placed their trust in him so as to allow [petitioner] to make personal financial gains. Specifically, [petitioner] made false promises regarding customers’ vehicle financing in order to obtain fraudulent bank loans in [his] name so that he could use those funds to purchase his own vehicle dealership."

The Board rejected petitioner's argument based on laches, since he had not raised it before the agency.