Car salesman at Muskegon dealership charged with larceny

Muskegon car dealership closing

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICH. - Arizona Charlie's Auto and Truck Sales on Apple Avenue is closed.

This week the Michigan Secretary of State's office pulled the dealership's license. The state made the action following complaints from customers who say title work was never sent to the state.

The dealership is owned by Charlie Guptill, who says he voluntarily forfeited his license. Guptill says the trouble at the dealership can be blamed on a now former employee hired as a car salesman.

That former employee is Roberto Sergio Patino Jr. Guptill says Patino was selling cars and pocketing the money, instead properly processing the state's paperwork.   

Police arrested Patino in January, he faces a number of felony "larceny by conversion" charges. In at least one of the cases it lead police to arrest a customer of the dealership.

"It was like a SWAT team, six state troopers and two Heights cops to arrest me," said Nieckaea Hill.

At first Hill didn't know why police surrounded her home last summer -- but quickly learned police believed she stole the car she was driving. Hill says she was charged with a felony.

Hill says she paid Patino in cash and she blames him for the arrest. Hill suspects the title work for the car she purchased was never completed by the dealership. She no longer has the car.

"They came and took it because I supposedly didn't pay for it," said Hill.

Patino is due in court for a preliminary hearing later this month. Guptill says the paperwork problems are so bad he's closing the dealership for good and taking legal action against Patino.

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Contact Jon Mills: jonmills@wzzm13.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMills20.   

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