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Local used car sales manager accused of pocketing $4,500

Federico Gutierrez was charged with theft between $20,000 and $30,000 and forgery. Photo courtesy of El Paso Police.

An employee at a local car dealership is accused of pocketing money received from a customer who was paying off a car loan, according to court documents.

Federico Gutierrez, 51, was among seven former employees and current associates at Fox Toyota who were arrested for criminal activity.

Police said the group worked together in a tire theft scheme, used Fox vehicles illegally, overbilled vendors, undertook insurance schemes and hid information about their illegal enterprise from Fox Toyota management.

According to court documents, Gutierrez is accused of stealing money from the dealership and forging documents while he was the used car general sales manager.

Gutierrez accepted $8,377 from a customer on April 5, 2016, to pay off a vehicle loan, and Gutierrez offered him $28,000 for his vehicle, according to court documents.

The total transaction was valued at $36,377.23.

Gutierrez was seen on camera later that day buying $2,000 in money orders at a nearby Circle K, authorities said. He went to a different Circle K and bough $1,877.23 worth of in money orders, according to police.

Gutierrez turned in the money orders the next day with a buyer’s order that said he gave the customer $4,500 extra for the vehicle in the transaction, according to court documents.

The owner of the dealership confronted Gutierrez about the discrepancy about a month later, and he initially denied purchasing the money orders. According to court documents, Gutierrez said he received the money orders from the customer, but they were blank, so he filled them out.

Gutierrez confessed two days later to the owner that he purchased the money orders, but denied taking the missing $4,500, authorities said.

An arrest warrant charging him with forgery and theft between $2,000 and $30,000 was issued on May 27, 2016.

According to online court records, Gutierrez was arrested later that day and posted bond the next day.

El Paso police began their investigation into the auto business scam in May 2016 when they were notified about two missing vehicles at Fox Toyota.

The six others believed to be involved in the scam were arrested last week. Police said additional charges are pending.

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