Orange County Luxury Car Dealer Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges for Bilking Company that Loaned Him Money to Purchase Lamborghinis
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 11, 2009|
SANTA ANA, CA—An Orange County man who owned two Lamborghini dealerships that sold up to 5 percent of all Lamborghinis sold in the world has agreed to plead guilty in a scheme to bilk the financing company that gave him millions of dollars to purchase the luxury sports cars and put them on his lot.
Viken Keuylian, 45, of Laguna Hills, was charged with wire fraud in a criminal information filed this morning in United States District Court. In a plea agreement also filed this morning, Keuylian agreed to plead guilty to the charge, which carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
Keuylian was the owner of two recently closed automobile dealerships: Platinum Motors, LLC (d.b.a. Lamborghini of Orange County) and Calabasas EuroAutoGroup, LLC (d.b.a Lamborghini of Calabasas). Most of the Lamborghinis at Keuylian's dealerships were purchased using money borrowed from Volkswagen Credit Inc. (VCI). Under the loan agreement with VCI, Keuylian's dealerships borrowed money from VCI to purchase cars, and, as each car was sold, Keuylian was obligated to pay back the money loaned to purchase that specific vehicle. While the cars were at the dealerships, VCI maintained a security interest in the unsold cars.
As part of the scheme, Keuylian and others deceived VCI into believing that certain cars remained on his lots, when in fact the vehicles had been sold and the proceeds had been misappropriated to pay Keuylian's other business debts, including debts associated with his vineyard, a commercial building on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, and his Lotus dealership in Beverly Hills.
In October 2008, Keuylian sold at least 54 vehicles – mostly Lamborghinis, but also several Bentleys and other high-end cars – for less than he owed VCI for each car. Keuylian used the proceeds from these sales to make some payments to VCI to pay back money he had already misappropriated. In relation to the 54 cars that Keuylian sold in October 2008, VCI had loaned him $12,560,314 to purchase the vehicles, but Keuylian received only $8,163,275 from the sales of these cars. None of the funds paid for the 54 cars were used to pay back VCI for the money it had loaned to purchase those cars.
In connection with this investigation, the FBI has taken into custody 13 Lamborghinis and an Audi that Keuylian had sold to end-users in relation to the scheme.
Keuylian is expected to make his initial court appearance in federal court in Santa Ana on Monday.
The case against Keuylian is a product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.