Illinois files criminal charges against top Carvana executiveBy on
Business Practices | Legal
Illinois’ secretary of state has filed several criminal charges against Paul Breaux, Carvana’s vice president, general counsel, and secretary. Among the charges are acting as an unlicensed used car dealer as well as failing to transfer titles and maintain records.
Breaux said in a statement sent to Repairer Driven News, “the decision to charge me personally is highly unusual, to say the least.”
“I traveled to Illinois to have a discussion with the State and instead they targeted me with charges because Carvana does home deliveries to customers and told me that Carvana’s seven day money back guarantee is not allowed,” Breaux said. “I am disappointed because I proactively met with several Illinois officials in 2017 to describe our home delivery and return options for our customers and they did not then nor have they since raised any concerns, during which time we’ve delivered tens of thousands of cars to Illinois homes and provided exceptional customer experiences. Records prove many late title transfers happen every day for Illinois dealers.”
Secretary of State Jesse White’s office launched an investigation into the online car sales company in February after receiving 95 consumer complaints regarding the company’s alleged failure to properly transfer titles to buyers and misuse of out-of-state temporary registration permits (TRPs). Due to that investigation, which the office confirmed to RDN is ongoing, Carvana’s dealer license was suspended. It was later reinstated under strict guidelines, which White’s office said in May Carvana had violated so the company’s dealer license was once again suspended.
In August, an Illinois judge ordered a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Secretary of State, brought by Carvana, that restricts revocation or suspension of Carvana’s Illinois dealer license. The TRO is still in effect and, according to Secretary of State spokesperson Henry Haupt, it “allows Carvana to sell cars in Illinoisans under strict guidelines.”
“Carvana cannot issue temporary registration permits or license plates. They must register titles through Illinois remitters, which are third party entities licensed in Illinois to process title transactions. This will ensure titles are processed expeditiously. …The Illinois Secretary of State’s top priority is to protect Illinois consumers as well as make sure state law is being followed. The Secretary of State is committed to fulfilling its mission of protecting consumers and enforcing Illinois law. Our office will take action to suspend any business that fails to comply with Illinois law. Failure to comply with Illinois law leads to criminal violations. It’s imperative that the Secretary of State enforce the law and bring charges when there are criminal violations.”
Breaux also faces 51 counts of Improper Use of Registration and 27 Failure to Transfer Title by Dealer charges. The failure to maintain records charges are for alleged violations by a used dealer, for acquisition/disposition, documentary evidence, dealer plate log, and for not inspecting vehicles.
“In response to a public records request, the State provided voluminous records detailing around 500,000 late title and registration instances in recent years where over 90 IL dealers had more late instances than Carvana,” a Carvana spokesperson told RDN earlier this week. “To our knowledge none of those dealers are being pursued for suspension or charged with crimes. In all of our statements, we are solely relying on information and data controlled and provided by the State.
“We appreciate the surge of support from our Illinois customers while we continue to work with the state on a long-term resolution. We are confident we will successfully defend the right of Illinois residents to buy and sell cars online through our industry-leading e-commerce platform.”
Breaux’s next court date is set for Nov. 1.
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