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Lamborghini dealer to plead guilty to wire fraud

March 12, 2009|Ari B. Bloomekatz

An Orange County man whose car dealerships accounted for about 5% of all Lamborghinis sold worldwide has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of felony wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, authorities said Wednesday.

Viken Keuylian, 45, of Laguna Hills was charged with defrauding Volkswagen Credit Inc. out of at least $12 million, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Andrew Stolper.

The financing company gave Keuylian loans to purchase the luxury sports cars. He is scheduled to appear Monday in federal court in Santa Ana. Keuylian owned Lamborghini of Orange County, in Santa Ana, and Lamborghini of Calabasas, which have now both closed.

Under his agreement with Volkswagen Credit, he was lent money to purchase cars that he put on his lots, and for each car sold he "was obligated to pay back the money loaned to purchase that specific vehicle," according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Keuylian allegedly deceived Volkswagen Credit by telling the company that the cars he had already sold remained on his lots. But, in fact, he allegedly had misappropriated that money to pay off other expenses, including business debts connected with a vineyard and a Lotus car dealership in Beverly Hills, authorities said.

In one incident, authorities said, Keuylian sold about 54 luxury vehicles in October 2008 for less than he owed Volkswagen Credit for each car. The company lent him $12,560,314 to purchase the cars, but Keuylian received only $8,163,275 from the sales. Authorities said none of the initial loan for the 54 vehicles was paid back.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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