Goshen car dealer under investigation by state

NOW: Goshen car dealer under investigation by state

GOSHEN, Ind. -- Walters Used Car and Truck Superstore in Goshen is under investigation by the state of Indiana. Multiple former employees and at least one customer tell ABC57 News, the dealership was selling cars with a suspended dealer license.

According to Indiana Secretary of State records, the dealership's license was automatically suspended on July 3rd because it had not submitted updated bond and insurance information. It is still currently suspended.

We went to the dealership and spoke to owner Mark Scearse. We asked if he was still selling cars.

"No. No. We're just here doing paperwork." He said.

We called the dealership the following day to ask about some of the inventory posted on their website. Without knowing we were with the media, he told us to come down for a test drive. He would do his best to get us into a vehicle.

A quick check of company's Facebook page shows daily posts telling people to come to the lot and get into a car "today."

He's also seen in a video trying to sell an SUV on July 11th.

There's a post from the 12th where he shows a customer with a new truck. And a post from the 18th, showing another customer in a new vehicle. We contacted one of the customers who tells us he purchased his vehicle after the suspension date.

When asked about the Facebook post from the 18th, Scearse said, "That was posted late."

According to state officials, it is currently illegal for him to sell any vehicles. And, if he were to log into the state system to print off a temporary plate, the system would not allow him to do it. According to a former employee, who wished to stay anonymous, Scearse was using another dealership, which he owns, to print off those plates.

"He was using his other store that he's not supposed to be and selling cars that way." The former employee said.

We stopped by that dealership off Country Road 20 in Elkhart. There's a sign in the window posted by the Indiana Department of Revenue stating the state shut the location down in May. Doing business there is a Class A misdemeanor.

We asked the Secretary of State's office how purchasing a vehicle from the dealership could impact them. We were sent the following:

It could potentially affect the purchaser when the purchaser goes to the BMV to title and register the vehicle. The BMV will prevent a title from being processed if they see that the dealership selling the vehicle has a Suspended license or any other invalid/expired dealer license designation. Without the title, a person cannot register their vehicle and obtain license plates. Our office works closely with the BMV on these issues as the BMV quickly notifies our office if one of their branch locations noticed that a Suspended dealer sold a vehicle. At that point, our office will begin an investigation and contact the dealership to get dealer records and inquire into the vehicle in question. If the consumer is unable to drive the vehicle because their interim license plate expired, then our office can issue the consumer another interim license plate to enable to consumer to drive their vehicle while we investigate. Ultimately, in these situations the BMV will issue the title to the consumer after our office ensures it is a legitimate sale and then we will take appropriate action against the dealership.

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