Billings, Mont., businessman Michael W. Ryan has been sentenced to 71 months in prison and fined $100,000 for defrauding customers in a windshield replacement scheme.
Ryan, the former owner of Thrifty Car Rental in Billings, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull to pay $55,128 in restitution to insurance companies and individuals who were victimized in the scheme.
Ryan, 55, insisted at sentencing this week that he did nothing wrong.
Cebull sentenced Ryan at the top of the advisory guideline range of 57 months to 71 months.
A jury convicted Ryan in December on all 17 counts in an indictment. He was charged in May 2006 with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, two wire fraud counts and 14 mail fraud counts.
Ryan’s attorney, Mark Parker, said he will appeal the conviction.
“The jury got it wrong,” Ryan told the judge. “I’ll fight until there’s no fight left in me.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Wolff said, “He was appropriately found guilty. The jury’s verdict is absolutely right.”
Wolff called Ryan a “run-of-the-mill insurance fraudster” who hiked up the price of replacing chipped windshields to insurance companies and split the take with Massick.
Prosecutors said Ryan and co-defendants, Jeffrey R. Loney, Ryan’s former fleet manager, and Kevin J. Massick, owner of Fas-Break Windshield Repair, conspired to bilk car-rental customers for windshield replacements. Massick charged high prices for windshield replacements for Thrifty cars, deducted a wholesale price and split the difference with Ryan. Often, the windshields were never replaced or chips were repaired for $25.
Ryan’s co-defendants pleaded guilty and testified against Ryan at trial. Loney was sentenced to four years of probation with six months of home confinement and was ordered to pay $27,564 restitution. Massick was sentenced to six months in prison with one month in custody and five months of home detention and was ordered to pay $55,128 restitution.
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