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Assets Frozen in Auto Auction Bankruptcy

May 01, 1997|(E. Scott Reckard)

A family that owns the state's largest retail car auction business had its assets frozen Wednesday by a bankruptcy judge who heard evidence that funds from the business had been wired out of state. Leadco Inc. of Santa Ana, operating as Western Leasing, held auctions at several Southern California sites, recording $130 million in sales last year. It filed for bankruptcy court protection March 17, saying it had overextended itself. Leadco's biggest creditor, the auto wholesaler Manheim Auctions Inc., has told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John J. Wilson repeatedly that it fears Leadco's owner, Brian Sharifi, may have been bleeding off corporate funds. Wilson issued a preliminary injunction freezing the assets of Sharifi's family. About 570 Southern Californians now possess other cars, but not the titles, because Leadco sold them without paying Manheim for them, Manheim attorney Ronald Rus of Irvine said. Leadco's lawyers have denied wrongdoing by the company and Sharifi, but presented no written opposition to the motion to freeze Sharifi's assets.

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