Car dealers accused of stealing $600,000 from customers after years of accusations – WFTV

Video: Car dealers accused of stealing $600,000 from customers after years of accusations Car dealers accused of stealing $600,000 from customers after years of accusations

ORANGE COUNTY, FL – For years, a nagging thought has been on Jeff Zach’s mind: Will the men who sold his car face charges of running away with his money?

This month, his questions were answered.

WFTV’s Action 9 is back in the drama surrounding Just Toys Classic Cars and its owners, Mike and J.R. Smith, after serving more and more customers, each telling the same story.

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They brought their often-expensive classic cars to Just Toys to be sold, and signed contracts promising payments within 60 days. They said the deadline came and went – and no money followed. Some cars completely disappeared, sold to buyers outside the United States where the road was difficult to follow.

Authorities closed Just Toys in 2019, three years after saying the first known theft had occurred, but the Smiths were allowed to continue living their lives. Behind the scenes, mountains of evidence accumulated.

The father and son were arrested and charged with grand theft in early April. Investigators said they stole money from 20 different clients over a three-year period. Some evidence came from Smith’s staff.

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“It is finally comforting, not only for me, but the other people on the case,” said Szak, describing it as a long and frustrating road.

The two men were released after paying $5,000 in bonds, but the future could be harsh: If found guilty, the penalty for first-degree grand theft is up to a maximum of 30 years in prison. It’s not the only charge they encounter, either.

Szak said he would be interested in testifying in the case, echoing some of the other alleged victims whose eyewitness news has followed. He didn’t know if he would see the $14,000 owed to him, a small amount compared to the other cars in the case.

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“People have sold the car they’ve had forever, knowing that this will be the car that we hope will help them live the life they wanted after retirement,” he explained. “That frustrated me more than the whole situation.”

WFTV stopped by the old site to work, but no one was there. Neither man had a lawyer listed in the court papers.

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