Escondido Dealer Pleads Guilty To Multiple Misdemeanors Sentencing Set For Early March

California Department of Motor Vehicles
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January 31, 2008

Sacramento – Investigators for the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles confirmed today that 54-year old Patrick Poulain, one of the owners of the defunct Escondido Mitsubishi, which was located at 876 N. Broadway, Escondido has pleaded guilty in San Diego County Superior Court to eight counts of failure to transfer ownership and accepted a preliminary sentence of one day in jail, three years of formal probation and ordered to pay his victims $40,000 in restitution. Poulain will be formally sentenced on Friday, March 7, 2008.

Poulain’s guilty plea and sentencing is the first step in wrapping up a 10-month investigation by the department into a 16-count criminal complaint filed with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Poulain was a co-owner of Escondido Mitsubishi along with 60-year old David Vanriper, also of Escondido. Vanriper did not appear at a preliminary hearing court with Poulain, and a bench warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Department investigators began receiving complaints against Poulain and Vanriper in February, 2007, from customers who claimed the dealership was not paying off trade-in vehicles or transferring ownership of vehicles that had been purchased. In all, a total of 32 customer complaints were received during the course of the investigation, but Poulain and Vanriper suddenly abandoned the dealership in May of 2007.

The subsequent DMV probe initially determined that the dealers had allegedly failed to pay off a total of 6 vehicles. Poulain was contacted by the department, and he subsequently made good on those 6 claims. However, as the investigation continued, investigators determined that the complaints warranted the expanded 16-count complaint. The San Diego District Attorney’s Office agreed to accept the complaint and pursue charges against Poulain and Vanriper.

A preliminary hearing for the pair was held on Jan. 15, 2008, when Poulain made his plea and was sentenced. Vanriper, as noted, failed to make an appearance and is being sought by the authorities. 


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DMV’s Investigations Division enhances consumer protection through active fraud/counterfeit detection, investigation, and enforcement services. The DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Secretary Dale E. Bonner. The DMV licenses drivers; maintains driving records; registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels; investigates auto and identity-related fraud; and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools

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