Dispute over vehicle records settled

Published 10:37am Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A charge for a sales violation against a former Racine auto dealer was reduced in Mower County Court, and the dealer was sentenced on one misdemeanor on Monday.

Jodene Kay Avant, 42, was convicted of permitting another to use or possess certificate of a motor vehicle title. She was ordered to pay $424 in restitution, which was the amount of tax not paid on the sold vehicle.

According to the court complaint, an investigator found the purchase price of a 2002 Saturn Vue was listed as $2,995 on the Minnesota sales tax declaration. However, the installment note listed the vehicle price as $6,528.

The investigator spoke with Avant, who signed the purchase contract. No documents at the dealership listed a purchase price of $6,528. Vehicles sold for less than $3,000 have a flat tax rate of $10, while the $6,528 price would have required 6.5 percent, or $424. The complaint stated the purchase price was placed on the vehicle to avoid paying the full sales tax amount. Avant was originally charged with a felony for that violation, according to Mower County Court records.

The investigator also discovered Avant did not have a license to finance customers, which is required by the Department of Commerce and Motor Vehicle Sales Finance. A gross misdemeanor charge for that violation, however, was dismissed.

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