Gettysburg Auto Exchange Owner and Manager Plead Guilty in Federal Court
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2011|
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced today that the owner and General Manager of the Gettysburg Auto Exchange pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday before United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, last month a criminal information was filed against William C. Stake, age 40, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the owner of Gettysburg Auto Exchange, and a second information was filed against David R. Burk, age 64, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the general manager of the Gettysburg Auto Exchange, in connection with crimes committed against a Florida charity and supporters of charitable causes.
Stake and Burk were charged with operating and conspiring to operate a scheme to defraud charities who used the Gettysburg Auto Exchange to sell vehicles donated by private individuals for charitable causes.
Gettysburg Auto Exchange agreed to assist non-profit organizations that solicited the public to donate used vehicles to charities. The charities would then arrange with various used car dealers/auctions to sell the donated vehicle and to send the proceeds from the sale to the charities, which would then distribute the funds to the particular charitable causes and institutions.
The non-profit charities entered into agreements with Gettysburg Auto Exchange to collect, transport and sell donated used vehicles and to send the proceeds to the charities, with the transportation fee and selling fee deducted from the proceeds by the Gettysburg Auto Exchange.
Stake, assisted by Burk, engaged in a scheme to defraud both the charities and the donors of the used vehicles by selling the vehicles and keeping a significant portion of the proceeds of the sale for himself. Stake allegedly created fictitious bills of sale indicating that the vehicles had been sold at less than the actual price. These fictitious bills of sale were then sent to the victim charities as proof that they had received the full sale price of the donated vehicle. As a result, the charities were allegedly defrauded of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Stake pleaded guilty to mail fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Burk pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod has been assigned to prosecute the case.