FORT WAYNE – An embattled local auto dealer sued a former employee in Allen Superior Court, attempting to reclaim money allegedly taken in a theft scheme.
Late last week, attorneys for Auto Liquidation Center sued Timothy Allen Sanders, accusing him of criminal conversion, tortuous interference and unjust enrichment.
Sanders, 41, of the 4700 block of West Arlington Park Boulevard, faces charges of corrupt business influence and theft in connection with his employment at the New Haven auto dealer.
Sanders is accused of embezzling $58,000 from Auto Liquidation by stealing car payments from more than 60 customers between July and September 2011, according to court documents.
Sanders is scheduled to stand trial next month in Allen Superior Court. He faces additional charges of fraud on a financial institution in a separate case, and he is also set to stand trial on those charges in October.
Last month, Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller sued Auto Liquidation Center, alleging unfair business practices.
In that suit, the majority of the allegations accuse the business of improperly repossessing vehicles or remotely disabling vehicles, even though the vehicles’ buyers were current on their payments. In those instances, representatives of the business contacted the buyers and told them they had days to “redeem” the vehicle by paying it off in full, according to the lawsuit.
While most of the incidents cited by the attorney general correspond to a period an employee is believed to have been embezzling payments made to the company, the repossessions occurred after the thefts were discovered and reported to police by Auto Liquidation officials.
Two other lawsuits were filed against the company, both stemming from the company’s repossession practices.
The new lawsuit, filed by Auto Liquidation Center, addresses Sanders’ alleged theft from the company.
According to the lawsuit, Sanders sold a number of vehicles to various family members and friends. He told them to make their payments in checks made out to Auto Liquidation Center, then cashed the checks and converted the money to himself for personal gain.
Auto Liquidation Center is seeking not just the money taken, but three times the amount in damages plus attorney fees, according to court documents.