Former Car Dealer Sentenced to Over Seven Years in Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 21, 2011|
ATLANTA—PHILIP SWINDALL, 50, of Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Steven C. Jones to serve over seven years in federal prison on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: SWINDALL was involved in selling cars in the Atlanta metropolitan area for the last decade, and was involved in multiple fraud schemes during that period. The first scheme began in April 2004, when SWINDALL was operating “Atlanta Chrysler Dodge,” an automobile dealership. He applied for and received $8,200,000 in loans and lines of credit from “SouthTrust Bank,” which is now “Wells Fargo Bank,” to fund and operate Atlanta Chrysler Dodge. In addition, SWINDALL persuaded his silent business partner to put up $4.7 million in collateral, including that partner’s $2,300,000 Colorado home.
By the summer of 2005, bank auditors discovered SWINDALL was more than $3,500,000 in debt. SWINDALL claimed that most of the debts were due to slow payments from a fleet customer. The auditors determined that SWINDALL’s explanation was false and that the true state of affairs was that the fleet customer had paid SWINDALL, but SWINDALL had not paid the bank. SWINDALL had used the $3,500,000 to operate another dealership, pay off his credit cards, and live a high-end lifestyle for himself and his family, which included foreign vacations and paying household expenses and household employees. The losses to SWINDALL’s business partner and the bank exceeded $4,000,000. SWINDALL’s business partner, who knew nothing about the fraudulent nature of the scheme, lost the home that he put up as collateral.
The second scheme began in 2009 when SWINDALL opened another dealership, “Auto Tailor, Inc.,” in Duluth, Georgia. Over the next year, he purchased more than 30 cars from other dealers either on consignment or by sending the dealers insufficient fund checks. He then sold the cars to customers online through eBay. The evidence showed that SWINDALL pocketed over $490,000 and never provided the customers with titles to the cars, or paid the other dealers.
In August 2009, in yet a third fraud scheme that ultimately enriched SWINDALL, he engaged in identity theft by using an employee’s name and other personal information to obtain a $175,000 loan from “Dealer Service Corporation.”
SWINDALL was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $8,487,491.70 in restitution. SWINDALL was convicted of these charges upon his plea of guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Duluth, Georgia Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney David Leta prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.