Michigan car salesman accused of fake employee pricing costing FCA $8.7 million
Federal authorities have charged a 34-year-old seller named Apollon Nimo with cable fraud. He developed a pricing system for employees that Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) reportedly cost around $ 8.7 million. He went undetected for several years, authorities announced, giving unbeatable deals to thousands of new car buyers while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses.
According to court documents, Nimo has been offering employee discounts on purchases and loans since 2014, but it's a little confusing that such a system wasn't revealed until 2021. He made more employee discount sales than any other FCA salesman in the US, according to Automotive News. Prosecutors believe his customers received a 5% discount by falsely claiming they were the brother or sister-in-law of an FCA employee. They added that Employee Purchase Control Numbers (EPCN) were often bought and sold on private Facebook groups.
For example, court documents allege that Nimo's father Salim leased at least three different cars in 2014 through his son who worked on the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Parkway in Clinton Township, Michigan. He received a discount on every vehicle by claiming he was the brother-in-law of three different FCA employees. The FCA apparently trusted its dealers and employees to do the right thing and did not verify that the family connection was true.
The program was a win-win, prosecutors say: buyers got a cheaper car, and Nimo unlocked big bonuses to be a best seller. The FCA awarded him around $ 700,000 between 2010 and 2019. In January 2020, he sold around 250 cars, which, according to Automotive News, is more than the entire sales force of an average FCA store.
Surprisingly, it wasn't the oversized bonuses or the mind-boggling sales that rang the alarm bell. Police officers turned to Nimo after FCA officials noticed someone was using their personal discount code on purchases without their approval. Following the paper trail they led to Nimo's shop.
Federal agents arrested Nimo on April 30th. He issued a bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 21st.
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