This type of suspension is rare, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson told the Detroit Free Press.
In addition, the Secretary of State’s staff is working with the Detroit Police Commercial Auto Theft Section toward possible criminal prosecution of some of the individuals accused. No charges have been filed yet, according to WXYZ-TV, but there have been some arrests. In addition, dozens of vehicles have been seized from some locations.
Suspicious transactions detected
The investigation was conducted by the Michigan Secretary of State’s newly-formed Office of Investigative Services. Investigators analyzed transactions to identify activity that appeared to be suspicious. In some cases, the dealerships were selling cars to each other, a Secretary of State Office spokesman told the Free Press.
The spokesman wouldn’t tell the newspaper details about the data analysis that was used.
The Office of Investigative Services teamed with local law enforcement to investigate further, resulting in suspended licenses. These licenses are required if you buy, sell, or otherwise broker or negotiate a lease or deal in five or more vehicles that require a title in a 12 month period.
More than 30 vehicles and stolen parts were seized at one dealership. Another is being investigated for allegedly trying to get clear titles for salvage vehicles.
More arrests at other locations could follow, according to WXYZ-TV.
The businesses can challenge the suspensions, but in the meantime, they’re closed. They also face further criminal charges and further action against their ability to be licensed.
The accused dealerships
The following dealerships are the ones that have been accused of illegal activities and are closed pending a challenge of their license suspensions:
- A One Auto Sales, Inc., 19424 W. Warren Ave. This used-vehicle dealer has been licensed since 2013.
- Best Price Auto Sale, Inc., 8594 Greenfield Rd. This used-vehicle dealer has been licensed since 2014. This is the dealership from which more than 30 used vehicles, as well as stolen parts, were seized.
- Big 3 Auto Sales, Inc., 13155 Plymouth Rd. This business sells used vehicles and used-vehicle parts and has been licensed since 2011.
- Hende Auto Parts, 9201 Freeland St. The business sells used vehicles and used-vehicle parts and has been licensed since 2012. This is the dealership that’s been accused of trying to obtain clean Michigan titles for salvage vehicles.
- Sold Auto Sale, Inc., 18920 W. Warren Ave. This used-vehicle dealer has been licensed since 2011.