Business

Ex-president of Charlotte classic car firm facing ID theft charge

The former president of a Charlotte-based RK Motors, Joseph Carroll, is set to be sentenced next month on federal mail fraud and identity theft charges in Cincinnati, according to court documents. RK Motors sponsored a classic car auction at the Charlotte Convention Center in 2013.
The former president of a Charlotte-based RK Motors, Joseph Carroll, is set to be sentenced next month on federal mail fraud and identity theft charges in Cincinnati, according to court documents. RK Motors sponsored a classic car auction at the Charlotte Convention Center in 2013. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

The former president of a Charlotte-based classic car dealership is set to be sentenced in Cincinnati next month on federal mail fraud and identity theft charges, according to court documents.

For more than 22 years, Joseph M. Carroll used another person’s Social Security number to take out more than 20 loans and lines of credit, prosecutors say in court documents filed last month. The government is recommending a 41-month prison sentence, while Carroll’s attorney has asked for five years of supervised release.

Carroll had served as president of RK Motors until recently, but is taking a leave of absence, said Rob Kauffman, the company’s owner and chairman. A new president will be named next week, said Kauffman, who is also a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, the NASCAR race team.

“He has been a great person to work with, and he’s done a very good job at RK Motors,” he said. “Hopefully, all of this will get resolved favorably.”

Carroll, 50, moved to Charlotte from Ohio around 2010 when his company, Best of Show Automotive, merged with RK Motors, Kauffman said. The charges against Carroll have no connection to RK Motors, he added.

In an email, Carroll confirmed he is no longer president, but declined to comment further. A Cincinnati attorney representing Carroll, Hal Arenstein, did not respond to a request for comment.

Carroll was indicted in May 2013 and reached a plea agreement in February 2014. His sentencing is scheduled for June 12.

From 1986 to at least 2009, Carroll used another person’s Social Security number to take out loans from numerous financial institutions, according to the government’s sentencing memorandum. The scheme allowed him to “minimize the consequences from any defaults or collection actions,” the document states.

During the scheme, Carroll lived lavishly, with homes in Ohio and Mount Pleasant, S.C., according to the memorandum. The losses in the case were about $1.1 million, the government says.

In court documents, Carroll’s attorney says the use of the other person’s Social Security number began years ago when Carroll was buying a used car for himself at a time when he didn’t have a good credit record.

Unbeknownst to Carroll, the car salesman inserted a different Social Security number into his car loan application, which was approved, according to the documents. Later, Carroll “made a mistake and continued to apply for credit under his own name and this different Social Security number,” the document states.

In the memorandum, Carroll’s attorney disputes the government’s loss calculations, but says there is “no doubt” his client has expressed his intention to pay whatever the court determines. Since moving to Charlotte, Carroll has been active in a charity called JumpStart Charlotte, a vehicle donation program, his sentencing memorandum says.

Rothacker: 704-358-5170; Twitter: @rickrothacker

  Comments