Quad Cities auto dealership owners indicted on federal charges of defrauding customers

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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - A Quad City car dealership is under investigation after a criminal indictment accused its owners and others of defrauding customers.

The indictment was filed in early November against the owners of Moline’s Fourth Aveune Auto Sales, Bradley Shane McCorkle and Isaac Bell, along with four other men. They’re facing 18 counts of federal felony charges for crimes dating back several years. The eight page indictment accuses the owners and other men of being part of a scheme to mislead customers into buying cars in which the mileage was rolled back.

Bradley McCorkle and Isaac Bell are accused of using straw buyers to purchase cars. A TV6 attorney defines a straw buyer as someone who buys something on another’s behalf to enable fraud. These straw buyers never intended to own the vehicles. The straw men were used to conceal the identity of the true owner/seller – Fourth Avenue Auto Sales. Court Documents say Bradley McCorkle and Isaac Bell would own the cars under the Fourth Aveune Auto Sale name.

The indictment lists one man – Kendric Vendrell McCray -- “and others” as straw buyers. Keithen Deone McCorkle and Nicholas McFarlin are alleged to have recruited the straw buyers.

The federal indictment says Bradley McCorkle and Isaac Bell would roll back the mileage on the cars and in some cases by more than a 100,00 miles. Court documents said ads listed the cars for sale on Craigslist with the tampered miles, misleading the would-be buyers. Derek Martinez is accused of advertising on Craigslist. Ten cars are listed in the indictment.

TV6 attempted to reach out to all six people listed in the indictment, stopping by the dealership. There was a sign on the door that said it was closed, however; two people inside said they did not know where the men were and had no comment. In a message to TV6 Investigates Chris Carter later in the day, Bradley McCorkle agreed to an on-camera interview, but declined when a TV6 crew arrived at the dealership. A person who TV6 talked to said Bradley McCorkle was advised by an attorney to not speak to the media.

The federal indictment also alleges in one case, Bradley McCorkle and Isaac Bell falsified the title on a vehicle.

All the vehicles involved in the case are listed in the indictment, but it is unclear if the owners of those vehicles have been notified. The indictment says that Fourth Avenue Auto Sales used the middle men to purchase approximately 335 cars. TV6 does not know where the cars were purchased from or where they are now. We do know the vehicles were sold in Scott and Johnson Counties in Iowa.

All six of the men have appeared in court. They are set for trial in January.

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CarFax.com offers tips on protecting yourself from odometer fraud. The company says you should start by asking questions about the condition of the car. You should include questions about the odometer reading. Another tip is to take your car to the mechanic. Cyber Drive Illinois also suggests that you not sign blank documents and to review the title.

If someone believes they have encountered a vehicle with an altered odometer, they should contact the Secretary of State and consult with an attorney.