Australian Man Who Ran Third Largest Car Dealership in the United States and was Fugitive for 24 Years Pleads Guilty in $50 Million Scheme That Defrauded Multiple Banks in the 1980s
LOS ANGELES—An Australian man, who ran the third largest car dealership in the United States before he fled the country 27 years ago, pleaded guilty late yesterday afternoon to federal charges for bank fraud and lying to banks.
Eminiano “Jun” Reodica, Jr., 71, ran a fraud scheme that caused nearly $50 million in loss to the banks in the 1980s. At that time Reodica was the President of the Grand Wilshire Group of Companies, which included Grand Chevrolet, then the third largest car dealership in the country. The Grand Wilshire Group was headquartered in Glendora, California.
In his guilty plea yesterday, Reodica admitted to engaging in schemes to defraud and making false statements to at least five banks, including Union Bank, Imperial Savings, First Los Angeles Bank, Manilabank, and First Central Bank, from 1984 to 1988. Specifically, Reodica admitted to promising the same car contract as collateral to two different banks at the same time. This scheme involved directing employees to forge customer signatures on car contracts and then promising the forged contract to a second bank. The fraudulent conduct also involved repossessing and reselling cars without telling the banks. Reodica also admitted to hiding from the banks that customers were delinquent on their car loans. Reodica admitted that he made his employees sign for car loans for cars that they were not really buying so that Reodica could put more money into his businesses.
As a result of Reodica’s fraud and false statements, the Grand Wilshire Group and Grand Chevrolet collapsed into bankruptcy in August of 1988 while Reodica fled the United States to his native Philippines. He was missing for over 24 years until FBI agents arrested him at Los Angeles International Airport in November of 2012. At the time of his arrest, Reodica was traveling using an Australian Passport in the name of Roberto Coscolluela.
“The guilty pleas by this defendant should be a warning to all fugitives facing charges in federal court that the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office have a very long memory,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.
Reodica pleaded guilty before United States District Judge S. James Otero, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on February 1, 2016. At sentencing, Reodica will face a statutory maximum sentence of 79 years in federal prison and a fine of $6,500,000 or twice the loss resulting from his offenses.
The charges in the indictment are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the late 1980s and early 1990s as well as investigation conducted by the FBI in the last three years.