DMV investigators say employees with Victory Lane Motors bought used cars from customers, but never paid off the loans—then the dealership sold those cars without legitimate titles to unsuspecting service members.
NewsChannel 3 first discovered the complaints Tuesday against the Virginia Beach Boulevard business, detailed in a search warrant filed in Norfolk Circuit Court.
The investigation actually started with the Air Force last October--in an 8-month span, more than two dozen airmen complained to military lawyers about the dealership.
Fort Eustis soldier David Ortega says he is one of their victims.
"I’m paying pretty much $306 and some change a month for a truck that I don't have, for a truck that I don't want," Ortega says.
He was only trying to help out a friend with bad credit. In October he co-signed on a Navy Federal loan for a Ford F-250. The plan was for the friend to pay him back with a loan he would take out on the truck, but Victory never produced a title.
"I went from 11 percent to 18 percent interest," Ortega says.
With no title to give the bank, Ortega’s interest went up and his credit went down.
"The bank knows what's going on but because it's still a loan and I still have to make the payments on it,” he says.
Ortega is now waiting to get the truck back from his friend and then sort through who owns it and who owes on it.
It’s a hard lesson Ortega hopes others will learn from.
"Do your research,” he says. “If you're going to buy a used vehicle from a small dealership do your research."
Court documents show Victory Lane Motors still owes more than $310,000 in loans they never paid off.
The Air Force went to the DMV a few weeks ago with their complaints, and special agents raided the dealership Monday, seizing computers, contracts, bank files and title records.
The possible charges against Victory Lane include embezzlement, forging registrations, and fraudulently selling cars they didn't own.
NewsChannel 3 paid a visit to Victory Lane's car lot Tuesday, but all we found were empty offices and locked doors.
No one from the dealership has yet to answer to these accusations.
It's not the first time they've run into trouble with military customers.
Victory Lane was on the Navy's off-limits list for most of 2013 and managed to be cleared of wrong-doing last August.
Now, after these newest complaints, they have landed back on the off-limits list, not only for Naval installations, but for Army and Air Force bases as well.