Attorney General Cuomo Sues Dealmaker Auto For Repeated Fraud

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (January 16, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he has filed a lawsuit to force DealMaker Auto Group to pay off loans on vehicles traded-in and to repair the credit reports of consumers who were adversely affected by the dealer’s repeated delinquent payments.

“The company has repeatedly failed to meet its legal obligations and consumers were harmed by its fraudulent business practices,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “I will continue to hold this company – and any others who betray the trust of unsuspecting consumers – accountable.”

DealMaker Auto Group, LLC, of Main Ave. in Watertown sells new and used cars in Watertown, Syracuse, Theresa, Ogdensburg and Potsdam. The company is owned by P.J. Simao of Alexandria Bay and Mark Picarazzi of Watertown.

The Attorney General’s initial investigation determined that DealMaker systematically promised and then failed to pay off consumers’ outstanding loan balances on approximately 150 traded-in vehicles. Many customers who traded in these vehicles received collection notices from their lenders, which may have adversely affected their credit ratings. In some instances, the loans remained unpaid by Dealmaker for more than two months after the vehicle was traded in by the consumer.

Following that investigation, DealMaker entered into a legally binding agreement to pay off these loans, take necessary action to repair affected customers’ credit scores and hire an independent examiner to oversee the company’s handling of the payoffs.

However, the Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Jefferson County, claims DealMaker continually fails to timely pay off the outstanding loan balances, including late fees and penalties. The company has also failed to retain an independent examiner as required by the Attorney General’s agreement.

The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring full compliance with the original agreement, plus restitution and damages to additional consumers not covered by the original agreement. Attorney General Cuomo’s Office is also seeking a $6,000 penalty for each violation.

Consumers who did business with DealMaker and are concerned that their credit may be affected are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Watertown Regional Office at 315-785-2444.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General-In Charge of the Watertown Regional Office Deanna Nelson, Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Carol Lively and Investigator Chad Shelmidine, both of the Watertown Regional Office.

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