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Tucson used car salesmen may face decades in prison for fraud

Two Tucson used car salesmen were busted for reportedly doing those nasty things we already think used car salesmen do.

Too bad this Hurricane Motors duo bolstered the negative stereotype, although the news release did not state if they took the stereotype to the limits and also wore cheap, brown suits.

David “Jay” Franklin, 47, and John D. Franklin, Sr., 72, allegedly bilked customers and a finance company out of nearly $200,000 through switched car titles and fraudulent loans. Maximum penalties Franklin and Franklin the elder could get if convicted are 85 and 62 years in prison, respectively.

Did they sell this thing?/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Did they sell this thing?/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Tucson Auto Dealers Charged with Fraud, Money Laundering, Arizona Attorney General news release

PHOENIX – Attorney General Terry Goddard announced the indictment of John David “Jay” Franklin, 47, of Tucson, and John D. Franklin, Sr., 72, of Tucson, on charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices, theft, illegally conducting an enterprise and money laundering.

The Franklins owned and operated Hurricane Motors, a used car dealership located (at 3100 N. Oracle Road) in Tucson. They are alleged to have stolen approximately $50,000 from Hurricane customers as well as $145,000 from Car Financial Services, Inc (“CFI”), a motor vehicle financing company.

According to investigators, Hurricane Motors allegedly defrauded individual buyers out of more than $50,000 through a scheme known as “shuffling titles.” The company allegedly assured buyers that the cars they were purchasing had clean titles, meaning there were no outstanding debts or liens on the cars. In many cases, there allegedly were significant existing liens on the cars.

When customers attempted to register their cars with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department, they were unable to do so because of the existing lien. In addition, the customers who purchased the cars became responsible for the payment of the pre-existing lien.

When customers complained to Hurricane Motors, investigators say that Jay Franklin assured the customers that he would resolve the problem. However, after several unsuccessful attempts to obtain permanent registration, many buyers stopped payment on the cars. Consequently, Hurricane Motors would repossess the cars and, according to investigators, resell them using the same fraudulent tactics.

Additionally, the Franklins allegedly sold the auto financing agreements that individual buyers formed with Hurricane Motors to the financing company, CFI. CFI buys and services contracts from car dealers across the company, thereby absolving dealers of the expense of running a finance company and assuring the payment of contracts.

As a result of this arrangement, CFI became the holder of the financing agreements and stepped in as the replacement financier on the loans. CFI owned the cars until the individual buyers fully paid off the principal and interest on their loans.

Investigators said that the Franklins also established their own finance company, “Riteway,” to finance the end-user loans. All contracts with individual buyers that were financed were sold through loans offered by Riteway.

When the Franklins sold contracts to CFI, they allegedly did not inform many of their individual customers that the financing contracts had been sold and that all payments should be directed to CFI. As a result, Hurricane Motors, through its financing affiliate, Riteway, continued to collect monthly payments from individual buyers.

Further, when individual buyers questioned the new CFI bills they received in the mail, the Franklins allegedly assured them that they would forward payments to CFI and instructed buyers to continue to make payments to Riteway.

As a result, CFI did not receive payment on the cars and repossessed the vehicles. These repossessions led to numerous consumer complaints and ultimately led CFI to learn that Hurricane Motors and its affiliate Riteway never informed the customers that their contracts were sold.

If convicted on all charges, John David “Jay” Franklin faces between 15 and 85.6 years in prison, and John D. Franklin, Sr. faces between 10 and 62.8 years in prison.

My boss at an insurance agency where I worked would always say he liked used car salesmen. After all, he would qip, they are lower on the ladder than insurance agents.

Have you ever been shafted by a car salesman?
An insurance agent?
Do you think that VW bug featured in Crappy or Snappy was purchased at Hurricane Motors?

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Odd Pueblo: Snappy or crappy?

This fun Odd Pueblo feature asks the audience to rate a trend, topic or sighting of something around town: is it snappy or crappy?

Since none of you seemed too enamored by the severed javelina head posted in the previous Snappy or Crappy, I’ve come up with something more subdued.

Kind of.

This bugged out Volkswagon bug was spotted in a midtown Target parking lot. While the owner was nowhere to be found, there were several kids standing around marveling at the thing.

My vote is definitely snappy.

Bugged out bug/Ryn Gargulinski
Bugged out bug/Ryn Gargulinski
VW/Ryn Gargulinski
VW/Ryn Gargulinski

Remember, I’m not asking if you’d drive the thing, especially since it looks like it wouldn’t have working air conditioning. I’m just asking if you find it funky or junky, crappy or snappy.

What do you think? Please respond:
a. Snappy. Totally reminds me of my drugged-out days in the late 60s, totally.
b. Crappy. What a hunk of junk.
c. I would love to date someone who owned that thing but I wouldn’t want it myself.
d. That’s my car!

Do you have a snappy or crappy to share? E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com

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Stop ignoring the homeless

Sick of the homeless folks lurking about the wash, river walk and park?

Then do something about it.

No, you don’t have to open your bedroom to total strangers, but you can help by attending a fundraising benefit concert and art auction at the Center for Creative Chaos.

The event runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on June 29 at the Z Mansion, 288 N. Church Ave.

It’s $5 to get in, but you get a lot for that five bucks, like a performance by the coolest man standing, Black Man Clay, who is one of four musical acts scheduled for the event.

Black Man Clay is a riot/File photo Francisco Medina
Black Man Clay is a riot/File photo Francisco Medina

You can also join a raffle to win New Mexico artist Sarah Smith’s Day of the Dead art or bid on other art that is part of the silent auction that starts June 26 through 29.

A news release from the Center adds more info:

The Center for Creative Chaos educates the public on the reality of the conditions of homelessness and poverty through video and advocacy activities. You can help support their mission by attending this summer event filled with music, art, refreshments and conversation. Recent video projects provide an intimate glimpse at homeless people that most of us never encounter.

Even if you can’t make the June 29 event, you can help the homeless through the Center in other ways. Every other Saturday at noon the Center conducts a Feed The Homeless Project at Santa Rita Park, Third Avenue and 22nd Street. The release notes:

You can participate by donating sandwiches, prepared lunches, pizza, hamburgers, soda, water, juices, clothing, blankets, toiletries or anything that you figure that people that don’t have anything can use. Or you can help enliven their lives by listening to their stories and communicating with them.

The Center for Creative Chaos is at:
739 N. Fourth Ave. (next to the Epic Cafe), 623-9061
Regular gallery hours are 1 to 8 p.m., Mon. through Wed.
Website: http://companies.to/thecenterforcreativechaos/

The Center for Creative Chaos is under the fiscal sponsorship of Pan Left Productions http://panleft.org/. Tax free donations can be made through Pan Left by indicating the Center for Creative Chaos.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Do you help the homeless?
Have you ever been homeless?
Have you ever been helped?

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Raging wildfire causing concern

Raging wildfires are one of the many dry-weather joys of living in Tucson. They usually kick around for awhile, displacing rabbits and field mice, then peter out or become contained.

The Elk Horn Fire, in the Baboquivari Peak Wilderness Area about 50 miles southwest of Tucson, has been causing quite a stir since it began June 11.

The fire is “human caused, ” according to the Arizona State Forestry Division.

As of Tuesday, the Elk Horn has consumed 14,500 acres and is only 18 percent contained and expected to burn for several more days. The terrain is rough and ragged, making access tough for fire crews. Two helicopters, six engines, four water tenders, four hand crews, three hotshot crews and a grand total of 215 personnel have been fighting this blaze.

Elk Horn Fire/AZ State Forestry
Elk Horn Fire/AZ State Forestry

This particular fire is noxious enough to have prompted the American Lung Association of Arizona and Pima County Department of Environmental Quality to issue a smoke advisory.

The advisory warns people, especially those with respiratory problems, to take caution. It also advises:

• Not to jog, jump rope or exert yourself in smoky areas
• Close your doors and windows
• Use air conditioning rather than evaporative coolers, since the latter will just suck smoke into your home

Other helpful tips should include:

• Don’t stand directly beneath a big billow of smoke and take in an expansive, gulping breath
• Don’t venture southwest of town into the burning brush to see what all the hubbub is about
• Don’t try to emulate the Elk Horn, or any other wildfire, in your barbecue grill.

Barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski
Barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski
Unattended barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski
Unattended barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski

Still worried? Check out air pollution levels at the PDEQ website or call the PDEQ hotline at
(520) 882-4AIR. This way you know if you should go north for the summer.

Have you ever gotten up and close and personal with a raging wildfire?

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The Roswell experience – Companion piece to Report from Area 51

Aliens blasting down to take over the planet has always been a scintillating thought.

Sure, we may end up getting our brains bisected, but at least we would no longer have to worry about mundane things, like emptying the dishwasher or folding laundry.

Since our Logical Lizard Geoffrey Notkin posted about his and Caroline’s experience near Nevada’s Area 51, I thought it only fair to chime in with my own alien excursion.

Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell street lamp/Ryn Gargulinski
Roswell street lamp/Ryn Gargulinski
Roswell soda machine/Ryn Gargulinski
Roswell soda machine/Ryn Gargulinski

If nothing else, Roswell is cashing in on the aliens that began landing there in the 1940s by hooking up the town with alien-themed everything.

Despite its jovial outward appearance, some Roswellians seemed pretty cranky. One man who ran one of those kitschy alien novelty shops was downright rude. When I asked if there was a bathroom I could use, he pointed at the wastebasket.

What we should do to the rude man/Ryn Gargulinski
What we should do to the rude man/Ryn Gargulinski

Maybe he was mad because if you took photos in the alien museum, which was dark but became illuminated by the flash, you could tell some of the alien beings were held to the wall with duct tape.

Duct taped alien/Ryn Gargulinski
Duct taped alien/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien behind a shower curtain/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien behind a shower curtain/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien near a metal thing/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien near a metal thing/Ryn Gargulinski

While it was evident the duct-taped aliens were not real, I do like to believe in the other incidents. Like one of my friends said about the spacecraft and debris found by a New Mexico man in the 1940s: “Why would a farmer lie, Ryn, why would a farmer lie?”

Besides, any alien is sure to be nicer than that grouchy old pee-in-the-wastebasket man.

Our friend the alien/File photo
Our friend the alien/File photo
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