Indictment Returned Against Motor Home Dealer

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the arrest and arraignment of the owner of a defunct Steuben County mobile home dealership alleging that he sold vehicles that did not exist to consumers.

Gordon A. Hakes, owner of Painted Post Car Mart Truck and R.V. Inc., was arrested by the Collier County Sheriff's Department in the State of Florida pursuant to a warrant based on a Steuben County indictment. He waived extradition in Collier County Court on October 18, 2004, and was returned to New York to answer the charges. The indictment charges Hakes with three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class "C" felony, three counts of Falsifying Business Records, a class "E" felony, and one count of Scheme to Defraud, a class "E" felony. If convicted on all counts, Hakes faces up to 20 years imprisonment and $20,000 in fines.

"My office is doing everything in its power to obtain justice for the consumers victimized by this motor home dealer's fraudulent and illegal practices," Spitzer said.

According to the indictment, between June 2002 and November 2003, Hakes agreed to sell to three separate individuals, a non-existent 2003 Pinnacle brand recreational vehicle. The criminal charges are based on allegations that Hakes engaged in a scheme constituting a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud these individuals.

The charges in this case are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The Attorney General wishes to thank the New York State Police for their work in this investigation.

The criminal investigation is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Russell Ippolito of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Bureau with the assistance of Investigator Mark Procopio of the New York State Police.

In a civil action filed last May by Spitzer's office, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph W. Latham of Steuben County last week issued a judgment against Hakes and the Painted Post Car Mart for nearly $1.05 million, including $1.021 million in restitution for over 50 consumers.