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5 employees of defunct York County auto dealer charged with defrauding customers

YORK COUNTY — The owners and other employees associated with a York Township auto dealership that closed in 2015 have been arraigned on several felony cha...
fraud

YORK COUNTY — The owners and other employees associated with a York Township auto dealership that closed in 2015 have been arraigned on several felony charges related to alleged deceptive and fraudulent business practices, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

The accused were associated with the now-defunct D&M Auto Sales, formerly located at 2973 E. Prospect St. in York Township.

Charged in the case are:

  • Dean Michael Lake, 27, of York Township
  • Dean Matthew Lake, 28, of Windsor Township
  • Michael L. Lake, 57, of Lower Windsor Township
  • Michael Lawone Lake II, 34, of York Township
  • Ruth Hutchinson, 57, of Chanceford Township

All five suspects are charged with corrupt organizations by an employee, conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy for deceptive business practices or fraudulent practices, deceptive or fraudulent business practices, conspiracy to commit theft by deception and theft by deception, according to criminal complaint affidavits filed by the Attorney General’s Office.

Hutchinson, who served as the business’ office manager, is also facing a misdemeanor charge of tampering with public records and information, according to the complaint filed against her.

According to the complaint, Dean Matthew Lake and his brother, Michael Lawone Lake II, owned the business along with their cousin, Dean Michael Lake. The Lake brothers brought in their father, Michael L. Lake, about two months after the business opened in 2013, and agreed to split the business’ profits four ways with him. The elder Lake interviewed and hired Hutchinson in 2014, the complaint states.

Hutchinson told police the elder Lake was dissatisfied with the amount of money made by the sale of each vehicle, and created a plan to overcharge customers to make additional money. The plan included changing the vehicle price after the sale and double-charging fees associated with the sale, the complaint states.

The suspects are also are accused of falsifying records submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, according to the complaint, which accuses Hutchinson of conspiring with her employers to alter PennDOT paperwork in order to stay in compliance.

In all, the complaint states, there are 64 customers who had financing paperwork increased beyond the actual sale price.

D&M also added fraudulent Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) insurance coverage or service contracts to 38 customers’ bills without telling the customers about it, the complaint alleges.

In addition, the complaint states, there were 14 vehicle sales that were not submitted to PennDOT within the proper time frame.

The fraudulent business practices allowed D&M to collect approximately $71,000 in illicit profits between April 2014 and November 2015, according to the complaint.

The charges were filed after a five-year investigation by members of the Attorney General’s Office, along with the York Area Regional Police Department and the York County District Attorney’s Office.