Alleged car scam dupes 2 in Jeannette
An Allegheny County man allegedly took advantage of a romantic relationship with a Jeannette woman to dupe her and her mother out of $19,155 in a car “flipping” scheme, according to state police.
Rickey M. Anderson, 46, of 375 Gregg St., Carnegie, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of deceptive business practices, theft, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, forgery, writing bad checks and two counts of theft by deception.
State police Trooper Jason Swope alleges that Anderson conned Adele Morrison of Jeannette and her mother, Cathy Morrison, out of a combined $19,155 in the scheme from May 2011 until March 30, 2012.
Swope began investigating in July when a $4,484 check Anderson wrote to Adele Morrison out of a closed Citizens Bank account bounced.
When police interviewed Morrison about the check she said Anderson, whom she described as her boyfriend, made the deposit from his checking account at Citizens into her account at Dollar Bank to pay “for several vehicles” that Anderson said he had purchased for her from an auto auction.
She told Swope that Anderson — she knew him as “Peppe” — was planning to flip the vehicles by repairing them and selling them at a profit.
Once the bad check was deposited into Morrison's account, he “asked her to give him $3,500 to pay his outstanding medical bills,” she told police. Morrison withdrew $3,500 and gave it to Anderson.
“After Morrison learned through Dollar Bank that the check (Anderson previously) deposited in her account was no good, she contacted Anderson via telephone and told him what happened. Anderson simply apologized and said ... when he got out of the hospital, ‘we will figure something out,' ” Swope wrote in the affidavit of probable cause.
The police report did not indicate whether Anderson actually had a medical issue. Anderson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Swope reported in court documents that he obtained a search warrant to view Anderson's bank account and learned the bank had ordered it closed the previous spring because of insufficient funds.
During her interview with Swope, Morrison detailed Anderson's previous “car flipping” transactions. She fronted him $8,000 in May 2011 for “several used Audis,” which the alleged used-car salesman would buy at an auto auction and resell at a profit.
Morrison presented financial records to Swope that showed in June 2011 she paid Anderson $1,200 for repairs to the auction vehicles so he could resell them.
But “Morrison related as of the date of this complaint, she has never received the Audis,” Swope wrote.
In July 2011, Morrison said, she withdrew another $1,200 to pay Anderson for repairs to her Jeep. She said the repairs were never completed.
Later that month, Morrison gave Anderson another $7,300 to purchase a Nissan Altima at the auto auction for her mother, she told police. After the Nissan had repeated mechanical issues, Anderson agreed to go back to the auto auction with another $1,100 to trade in the Nissan and buy a Volkswagen Jetta.
“Cathy Morrison, as of the date of this complaint, was never given the Volkswagen Jetta,” Swope wrote.
Adele Morrison told Swope that she was constantly asking “Peppe” about the vehicles he purchased for her and her mother, but he “would come up with different excuses such as the vehicles were being worked on, or he couldn't obtain the titles.”
She told Swope that Anderson would not take her telephone calls from the fall of 2011 until March 2012, when he called her and said he had taken a job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was unable to contact her.
Swope said Anderson refused several requests for police interviews.
“A search of PennDOT vehicle registration shows Anderson does not own either a Volkswagen Jetta or an Audi in Pennsylvania,” Swope wrote.
In May 2012, Anderson pleaded guilty in Allegheny County to a charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds filed by Pittsburgh City Police and was ordered to pay restitution of $8,203. Online court documents show he has paid $100.
His preliminary hearing on the most recent charges is scheduled for Friday before Mansour. He was released from the county jail on Wednesday after posting $25,000 bond.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.