A Las Cruces court has issued an arrest warrant for an El Paso man suspected of convincing a local car dealer it could open a new location on Fort Bliss.
Sisbarro Buick-GMC allegedly lost $34,999 in the scheme.
Johnny Ray Mills, 41, of 12380 Edgemere in El Paso, is charged with one count of fraud, a second-degree felony. On Feb. 4, a Magistrate Court judge in Las Cruces approved the warrant for Mills' arrest with bond set at $50,000.
Las Cruces Police detectives say that on Dec. 15, 2013, a general manager at Sisbarro Buick-GMC in Las Cruces received a call from someone claiming to be a "Major Powers" at Fort Bliss, Texas, who said the post wanted to open a car dealership.
The Sisbarro general manager told police "Major Powers" said a civilian liaison by the name of "Johnny Ray" would visit the dealership in a few days to negotiate a deal.
On Dec. 20, a man claiming to be "Johnny Ray" met with Sisbarro personnel and accepted a check for $9,999 for what the dealership thought was an "Ambassador Sponsorship Program" at Fort Bliss. On Jan. 3, 2014, Sisbarro officials again met with Ray and this time gave him a check for $25,000 that the dealership believed was further evidence they were entering into a contract to open a dealership at Fort Bliss.
Police say three days later, the Sisbarro general manager met with Ray at Fort Bliss and discussed potential locations for the new dealership. Shortly after that meeting, the general manager became suspicious of the venture and noticed discrepancies in Ray's stories. The GM contacted officials at Fort Bliss and learned that there was no "Major Powers" on post.
The Sisbarro general manager contacted Las Cruces Police who investigated the case and now believe "Johnny Ray" is actually Johnny Ray Mills of El Paso.
Spokesman Dan Trujillo says the $34,999 Sisbarro allegedly paid to Mills has not been accounted for at this time.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mills is asked to call Las Cruces Police at (575) 526-0795 or send a tip via email to LCPDTIPS@las-cruces.org.
Las Cruces police public information officer Dan Trujillo contributed to thios report.