Fla. Auto Dealer Charged with Fraud

July 31, 2003

The Florida Department of Financial Services announced that Michael Bander, of Pensacola, former owner of Everyone Rides Car, Truck and SUV Center, is facing charges of organized fraud, theft, retail installment sales fraud and insurance fraud. Consequently, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Tom Gallagher, is urging consumers who bought a vehicle from Everyone Rides Car, Truck and SUV Center in 2001 to review their finance agreements.

Vehicle buyers may have paid for extended service warranties and other insurance products without ever having the coverage placed. Everyone Rides’ insurance license was reportedly revoked in March.

“It is unfortunate that there are individuals who look for opportunities to take advantage of consumers,” said Gallagher. “Floridians must protect themselves by reading all of the fine print before signing any contract.”

Bander, who is being held in Escambia County Jail, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday in Escambia County Circuit Court. His arrest followed a joint investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud and Bureau of Investigations, and the Office of Financial Regulation in cooperation with the Escambia County State Attorney’s Office. The investigation was initiated based on information provided by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

State fraud investigators said Bander “rolled” extended service warranties, and in some cases Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) coverage, into finance contracts but failed to forward the premiums and place the coverage. State investigators further allege that Bander collected at least $10,000 in unforwarded premiums and used the money for personal profit. Bander was recently convicted of felony charges in Broward County and was transferred to Escambia County earlier this month to face the current charges against him.

Service warranties are optional and consumers should verify that the charge for a service agreement has not been rolled in to a vehicle’s price.

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