EL PASO, Texas - Detectives with the El Paso Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit arrested and charged seven individuals in "an elaborate fraud scheme conducted by associates and former employees of Fox Toyota," police officials said Monday.
In May 2016, police were notified about two missing vehicles at the dealership at 11165 Gateway West Blvd.
An investigation allegedly revealed Fox Toyota associates and former employees were working together in "several criminal incidents," police said.
Fox Toyota Owner Steve Fox told ABC-7 the arrests are a "good wakeup call for every dealership in town and for criminals that they can't get away with this."
"Unfortunately, the auto industry has been a victim of these crimes for as long as I've been in the business, which is about 40 years," Fox said, "Fortunately, the El Paso Police Department took an interest in our case and pursued it."
The alleged scheme took place in between November 1, 2015 and February 5, 2016.
Below are those arrested and the charges they are facing:
39-year old Mark Alvarez is charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (Theft >$20K <$100K) and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (Theft >$25,000 <$30,000).
32-year old Miguel Silva was charged with Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle.
41-year old Cesar Valdiviez was charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (Theft).
44-year-old Luis Silva was charged with Misapplication of Fiduciary Property (>$30K < $150K).
36-year old Carlos Velasquez was charged with Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle.
34-year old Albert Vargas was charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (Theft).
51-year old Federico Gutierrez was charged with Theft ( >$20K <$30K) and Forgery.
The case dates back to 2015 and Fox told ABC-7 waiting for a resolution has been frustrating. "I'm trying to run a good business. I have 270 team members and I'm trying to provide for them. They take care of me, so I take care of them."
Fox said business owners operate under the premise you can trust people around you, but even with checks and balances, sometimes criminals are gifted liars and will get to you.
Fox identified his former employees as Silva, a former general sales manager; Vargas, Valdiviez, and Gutierrez.