[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 05/06/21]
EUSTIS, Florida — An unemployed Umatilla man scammed two local car dealerships with nearly $70,000 of worthless checks, and attempted to scam two more, according to a probable cause affidavit.
On April 16, Eustis Police Department responded to Advantage Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, 18311 U.S. Highway 441 on a report of fraud. The general manager told police Prestin Scott Carroll, 19, purchased a 2021 Jeep Wrangler with a check written for $48,940.35 four days earlier. The check was returned the next day for insufficient funds; the manager contacted the bank and found the account the check was written on had been closed.
The responding officer called Carroll and Carroll told him he purchased the Jeep with an insurance settlement from a previous crash and did not know why the bank failed to honor the check. The manager requested Carroll bring in a cashier’s check or return the Jeep by the end of the day and Carroll agreed, according to the affidavit.
The following day an unidentified female left the Jeep in the parking lot.
Just a week later, on April 23, another EPD officer responded to Danny Len Buick GMC, 17605 U.S. Highway 441, also on a fraud complaint. An employee told EPD Carroll came to the dealership on April 17— the same day the Jeep was returned— and wrote a $5,000 check to hold a 2013 Ford F150. On April 19, Carroll returned to the dealership and finished paperwork and wrote a check for the remaining balance on the truck— $14,857.78. The checks were returned as unpaid four days later and the employee attempted to contact Carroll to no avail and then called police.
An EPD corporal contacted Carroll later that same afternoon and he said he had two accounts at the same bank, one of which is closed, and he “must have accidently written checks from the wrong account,” the affidavit states. Carroll later returned the truck.
Carroll’s criminal history showed a prior arrest in Winter Haven and EPD contacted Winter Haven Police Department and found that Carroll had purchased a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro from a dealership in Winter Haven, with a worthless check in the amount of $28,379.59 The report in that case mentioned a similar case in Pasco County and EPD contacted Pasco County Sheriff’s office and found that Carroll had purchased a 2020 Toyota Tacoma from a dealership there and then traded it in on a 2021 Jeep Rubicon. He is alleged to have written two checks for those vehicles totaling nearly $75,000.
Carroll also attempted to purchase a Ford F150 Platinum worth $74,000 from Prestige Ford, 17701 U.S. Highway 441, Eustis but was unsuccessful. Carroll was also unsuccessful at Phillips Buick GMC, 2160 U.S. 441/27, Fruitland Park. A warrant was issued for Carroll’s arrest on April 27 for two counts of grand theft auto and four counts of fraud. He was nabbed on April 29 and is being held in the Lake County Jail on $35,000 bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]