Three people linked to a used car dealership in Lompoc have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors relating to complaints filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.
Alysha Marie Hibson, owner of Mid State Motorsports in Lompoc, and two of her ex-employees, Karl Wolfgang Bischoff and Daniel Merlin Davis, allegedly engaged in illegal conduct during several vehicle sales that took place between March and November 2017, according to Deputy District Attorney Christopher Dalbey.
The dealership, which was located at 401 N. H Street in Lompoc, has since closed.
Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint in September 2018, alleging the trio acted as unlicensed vehicle salespeople and stole money or property in excess of $950.
In addition to hiring unlicensed salespeople, a declaration filed by Officer Gabby Rodriguez, a DMV investigator, claims the company failed to return down payments on vehicles that were returned or never provided to customers.
One buyer paid a $3,000 down payment and was told if he did not return the vehicle, it would be reported stolen.
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The man did not receive a refund on his down payment after returning the vehicle, according to Rodriguez.
Hibson, 32, faces two felony counts of grand theft, one felony count of grand theft auto and three misdemeanor counts of employing an unlicensed vehicle salesperson.
Bischoff, 33, faces three misdemeanor counts of acting as an unlicensed vehicle salesperson.
Both pleaded not guilty during their May 7 appearance in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Lompoc and will reappear before Judge Raimundo Montes de Oca on Tuesday, June 18.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Davis, 76, who faces one felony count of grand theft.
Davis failed to return a $1,000 down payment to a woman who returned a vehicle with expired registration she felt was "unsafe to drive," according to Rodriguez's declaration.
Reach reporter Mathew Burciaga at 805-739-2205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mathewburciaga