GREENFIELD — The former general manager of a Fortville car dealership has been arrested — more than six months after a warrant was issued on 28 criminal charges.
Daniel Trappe, 39, 15580 Follow Drive, Noblesville, was booked into the Hancock County Jail Thursday on a $50,000 cash bond. Trappe had been serving time in an Indiana Department of Correction facility in an unrelated case and has petitioned a judge to reduce his bond.
Trappe sold vehicles to customers without providing them the title — or in some cases, the car — and forged loan documents while managing Prestige Automotive in Fortville, 917 E. Broadway St., which went out of business in 2015 after having its dealer’s license revoked, records state.
Trappe was most recently serving a prison sentence after being sentenced in Marion County in a drunken-driving case dating back to 2015.
He was also recently convicted of theft in Hamilton County and ordered to repay the victim $18,000, records show.
Locally, Trappe faces one Level 5 felony count of corrupt business influence; six Level 6 felony counts of theft; and six Level 6 felony counts of fraud.
At least two victims told police Trappe forged their signatures to take out loans in their names to pay for the cars they agreed to purchase, court records state. One of the loans was for $24,000, and the other was for about $14,000, charging documents allege.
Another woman told police she wrote a roughly $34,000 check to Prestige Motors for a vehicle Trappe had agreed to purchase on her behalf, according to court documents. Trappe cashed the check, but the woman never received the vehicle, court records state.
He also faces 11 Class B misdemeanor charges of failure to deliver a certificate or title and four Class A infractions of issuing an altered or false license plate.
Police began investigating Trappe after the Indiana Attorney General’s Office in March 2016 filed a lawsuit against Prestige Automotive and three other auto dealerships, accusing them of failing to provide vehicle titles to buyers.
Police and the Indiana Secretary of State Office’s auto dealer services division received dozens of complaints from customers of Prestige Automotive during 2015 and 2016, court records state.
At least 10 customers filed complaints with the division stating they purchased vehicles from Trappe and did not receive the titles for the car within 21 days, as required by state law, charging documents state. Without a title, the purchaser can’t register the vehicle to legally drive it, police said.
The Level 6 felony counts Trappe faces carry a penalty of six months to 2.5 years and up to $10,000 in fines. The Level 5 felony count he faces carries a penalty of one to six years and up to $10,000 in fines.
Trappe goes before a Hancock County judge Monday to argue his bond should be reduced.