Former Vista Auto Dealer Arraigned For Fraud

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Media Relations Office
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May 21, 2008

Sacramento – A former owner of a Vista auto dealership was arraigned Monday in San Diego District Court for allegedly defrauding customers by failing to pay off trade-in vehicles and failure to transfer vehicles to customers.

Kent Curl co-owned Aloha Motors, Inc., until the dealership abruptly shut its doors on Oct. 12, 2007. Aloha Motors, Inc., which was located at 1611 W. Vista Way was in business for nearly four years. The San Diego District Attorney’s Office filed an eight-count criminal complaint for grand theft against Curl for allegedly defrauding 72 customers in vehicle transactions totaling more than $400,000.

The Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) Investigations Division opened a criminal investigation immediately upon fielding its first series of complaints in the fall of 2007. Over the next five months, DMV received 72 complaints that included failure to pay off trade-in vehicles, failure to pay warranty companies for extended warranties, failure to pay insurance companies for gap insurance, and failure to transfer titles.

The District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to Curl two weeks ago, outlining the filing of seven criminal complaints. A preliminary hearing is set for July 14, 2008 in San Diego Superior Court.

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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