Jerry W. Hutchins of Dowelltown, who owns Hutchins Auto Sales in Smithville, surrendered to federal agents Friday on fraud and money laundering charges

Smithville – According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), a Smithville car dealership is under indictment by a federal grand jury in a “multi-million dollar scheme” to defraud a used car auction in Murfreesboro.

Jerry W. Hutchins of Dowelltown, who owns Hutchins Auto Sales in Smithville, Brian Baker and Stephanie Louise Baker, all of whom surrendered to federal agents Friday, defrauded Dealers Auto Auction in Murfreesboro of more than $2 million, according to the DOJ. All three defendants made an appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge that same day.

Read the DOJ’s entire report HERE.

“According to the indictment, between February 2017 and November 2018, Stephanie Baker was the General Manager of the Dealers Auto Auction Group’s Murfreesboro auction location,” said the DOJ. “Baker and Jerry Hutchins each owned and operated used car dealerships and did business at the auction. The defendants devised a scheme to defraud Dealers Auto Auction Group, LLC by creating fake transactions to make it appear that the defendants’ businesses had sold cars at the auction and were entitled to receive funds from Dealers Auto Auction Group, when in fact the defendants had not sold vehicles at the auction. Based on the fake transactions, Stephanie Baker caused Dealers Auto Auction Group to issue checks to Brian Baker’s and Hutchins’ businesses. Then, monthly, the defendants would create additional fake transactions using the same vehicles in order to conceal the original fraud and avoid detection. Brian Baker and Hutchins then converted proceeds of the fraud scheme for their own personal use and benefit.”

The federal indictment charges Brian and Stephanie Baker, who are married, and Hutchins with wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. All three defendants were also charged with “substantive offenses for acts of money laundering.”

If convicted, the trio could face lengthy sentences.

“… The defendants face up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy, the money laundering conspiracy, and the concealment money laundering offenses, and up to 10 years in prison for money laundering,” according to the DOJ. “The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation in which the government seeks to forfeit any property derived from the proceeds of the crimes, including a money judgment in the amount of at least $2,041.170 from Stephanie Baker, $1,357,310 from Brian Baker, and $683,830 from Jerry Hutchins.” 

Image by wirestock on Freepik.

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