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13 Victim’s to Recieve Restitution from Rick’s Auto Outlet Restitution Hearing

December 10th, 2009 by

028

12 area residents and a local bank have been awarded money owed to them, following a recent restitution hearing against Rick Funderburg, former owner of Rick’s Auto Outlet, of Monticello, for damages done in the criminal case against him, in which he pled guilty in December of 2005.

Circuit Judge Sam Pope announced the outcome of the hearing, earlier this week.

A total of over $511,000 has been awarded to the victims, who are listed in the article below, which posted on MonticelloLive on November 16.

Judge Pope determined that retail customers will be paid before business intities, with smaller debts being paid before larger amounts.

Federal Bankruptcy Court has a judgement in favor of Chuck Dory Auto Sales filed for over $17,000, and it is unknown if that will take place before the local victims.

Judge Pope’s order pointed out that there is $251,236 available in Funderburg’s bankruptcy estate, but it is not known if these victims are entitled to the bankruptcy funds.  If they are, then that money will be credited against their restitution amounts.

If those funds don’t qualify for local reimbursement, Funderburg will (after Dory Augo) pay $246 each month to these victims.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Restitution Hearing for Rick’s Auto Outlet held Thursday—Posted November 16, 2009

Rick Funderburg, former owner of Rick’s Auto Outlet, of Monticello, had a restitution hearing for damages done in the criminal case against him, in which he pled guilty in December of 2005.

The state was represented by Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen, and members of his staff, who presented several witnesses.

The attorney for Union Bank, who financed two “floor plans” for Funderburg, was the first witness called.  He testified that the original amount of loan was over $700,000.  This allegation is what led to the criminal count of defrauding a secured creditor.  The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has defined the “non-dischargeable” amount as $400,000.

An auto dealer from Lousiana, who had bought cars to be sold by Rick’s Auto Outlet,  took the stand next, detailing how Funderburg received 3 vehicles; a Pontiac Grand Am, an Olds Valero, and a Ford Mustang, and never paid for them.

An independant car purchaser from Beebe told the court that he had loaned his personal Chevy Silverado pick-up to an associate of Funderburg’s, so that he could have a way back to Monticello.  After several requests, he later found out that his personal vehicle had been sold by the business.  He was never paid for the truck.

A Wilmar man took the stand, telling the judge that he and his dad had bought a Chevy pick-up from Funderburg.  He still doesn’t have the title to the truck, got a $165 traffic ticket for not having license plates last week, and will have to spend $750 in legal fees to get the title.

A Monticello woman was next.  She told how she had purchased a Chevy Impala.  She stated that she never got a title, and that her trade-in vehicle was never paid off by the business.  The family has had to re-finance their home to pay for the traded-in car, that they didn’t even possess at the time.

A local pastor testified that he bought a Chevy Malibu from “Rick’s”, and traded in a Pontiac Bonneville.  His old car was never paid off.   He went on to tell the court that he was forced to cash in a savings certificate to pay for the car that he had traded in, costing him an additional $8,562.

A Dermott lady took the stand tell that she purchased a limited-edition Dodge, which she did get title on, but that the Ford Expedition that she traded to “Rick’s” was never paid off, costing her an additional $3,000.

A Watson resident was next to answer questions about her family’s loss, when they purchased a Ford Mustang for their grand-daughter.  They paid $5,877 on the vehicle, before giving it up.

Funderburg’s attorney, John Ogles, objected to several of these witness’ testimony, since they weren’t the names listed on the contracts; but Circuit Judge Sam Pope allowed all but one of them to be put into the court record, since they were present at the time of the transaction, and had “knowledge of the events”.  One lady’s response was, “I was there.  I’m the one who picked that car.” 

A New Edinburg lady had gone three weeks without receiving a title, and when she went back to the car lot, it was empty.  The family had driven the un-licensed truck for two years, but after getting multiple warning citations, parked the truck in the yard for two more years, before letting it go back to the creditors.

An elderly Monticello man told the court that he had traded in his mother’s 1985 Ford, to buy a Buick Regal for his wife.   Since they were never able to get a title for the Buick, his wife would not drive it, without license.  His wife has since passed away.   He got a “bond title” in 2008, and has since sold the car for $7,000, after paying a total of $15,945 for it.

Another witness testified that she had to pay sales tax twice: once when she bought the vehicle at “Rick’s Auto Outlet”, and again when she paid off her Jeep Cherokee from the bank.

Three other witnesses were called during the morning, all with similar stories.

After lunch, the only other evidence presented were documents showing Funderburg’s income.

Funderburg did not testify.

Judge Pope took the case under advisement, and will issue written findings on the restitution issue.

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