Attorney General Charlie Crist News Release
January 28, 2003
Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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Used Car Dealer Charged With Defrauding Customers

WEST PALM BEACH – Luxury Cars of Palm Beach Inc. and its owner, Deris Ceresa, have been charged by Attorney General Charlie Crist with defrauding customers, lenders and automobile wholesalers.

"There is a long trail of unsuspecting victims in this case," said General Crist. "It is a privilege to fight for those who have been harmed by their dealings with this company."

A civil complaint was filed in Palm Beach Circuit Court today against the used car dealership which is at 2275 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, Suite C, West Palm Beach, as well as the owner.

General Crist indicated that his office had affidavits from 44 consumers involving 61 cars. At least $954,667 in out-of-pocket losses were incurred just by individual consumers and the losses to banks may be greater. One bank alone estimates losses at $541,578. Various wholesalers have also lost money in their dealings with Luxury Cars and its principal.

According to the complaint, the company and its owner:

  • Delivered payment to many consumer consignors in the form of checks which were later returned for insufficient funds, or failed to deliver any payment at all;
  • Purchased vehicles from wholesalers with checks which were returned for insufficient funds;
  • Failed to satisfy loans on vehicle trade-ins;
  • Advertised, attempted to sell or sold vehicles which they did not have;
  • Asked customers to sign contracts with the vehicle ID number blank, because they did not have titles to the vehicles which they were selling.

In August, 2002, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspended the company’s license to do business and subsequently revoked it on November 22, 2002. Despite this, according to affidavits filed with the court, Ceresa continued to engage in an automobile-related business at the same location.