Norman Car Dealership Executives Charged with Wire Fraud Conspiracy, Forgery, and Identity Theft in Subprime Auto Loans

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Western District of Oklahoma, Sept. 17, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal indictment charges BOBBY CHRIS MAYES, 48, CHARLES GOOCH, 61, and COURTNEY WELLS, 35, all residents of Norman, with 25 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy, issuing forged securities, and aggravated identity theft, announced Timothy J. Downing, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

On September 16, 2020, a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging that from January 2014 to March 2019, Mayes, Gooch, and Wells utilized their positions as co-owners of the Big Red Dealerships (Big Red Sports/Imports, Big Red Kia, Norman Yamaha, Norman Mitsubishi, and Mayes Kia) to engage in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in which they sought to obtain millions of dollars of loan proceeds. The indictment further alleges the defendants made materially false statements and omissions to the lenders about the type, source, and amount of borrowers’ down payments or vehicle trade-ins, and bribed at least one loan officer.

According to the indictment, the Big Red Dealerships used advertisements to target potential customers with poor credit. Mayes, Gooch, and Wells fraudulently induced lenders to approve loans for such customers by documenting that the customers provided cash down payments or trade-in vehicles, even when neither transaction took place. The indictment alleges at least one lender approved questionable loans after being provided with cash bribes from a Big Red Dealership manager. It is alleged that, on the defendants' instruction, Big Red Dealership employees concealed the ongoing criminal conduct, even forging the signatures of customers who supposedly provided cash down payments.

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