Auto dealer ordered to pay $181,051 restitution

Published 2:26 pm Friday, November 30, 2007

By Staff
CASSOPOLIS – At a restitution hearing held on Thursday, Cass County Circuit Judge Michael Dodge ordered Greg Ferrier to pay $181,051.32 relating to his past fraudulent activity while part owner of Dowagiac Auto Sales.
Ferrier, 44, had pleaded guilty on March 29 to two separate five-year felony charges of false pretenses over $1,000 and was sentenced by Dodge on May 4 to 210 days in jail.
As part of his sentence, Ferrier was required to make restitution to victims of his financial fraud in Cass, Berrien and Kalamazoo counties.
At sentencing, the Cass County Prosecutor's Office requested restitution for 59 victims in an amount totaling slightly more than $180,000.
Ferrier contested the sum and requested a hearing. The court obliged and, at the parties' request, granted additional time to resolve the matter.
When the defendant continued to oppose the prosecutor's requested amount the court held a hearing to determine restitution.
On Thursday morning, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz presented testimony from Secretary of State employee Jerry Kunzelman, Prosecutor's Victims Rights Coordinator Amanda Smego and aggrieved purchaser Amanda Manning.
Their testimony, coupled with an array of financial statements, licensing documents and monetary summaries established 60 victims who lost a total of $181,051.32 due to Ferrier's crimes. Evidence indicated that Ferrier took money from numerous car buyers for a wide array of purposes including car purchase, titling, warranties and insurance. He then diverted the money from its intended purpose.
As a result, customers were beset by setbacks including vehicle repossession, inability to title purchased autos, lack of insurance, no warranty coverage and legal fees. Vendors also suffered when Dowagiac Auto Sales checks bounced.
At the conclusion of the hearing the Court found on behalf of the Prosecutor's office and ordered victim restitution in the amount of $181,051.32.
The defendant's illegal actions came to light in 2006.
Fitz thanked the Michigan Department of State – Investigations Division, Secretary of State, Cass County Sheriff 's Department, the Dowagiac Police, the Michigan State Police – Niles Post, the Schoolcraft Police Department and the Three Oaks Police Department, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office and the Berrien County Prosecutor's Office for their essential cooperation and hard work in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion.