Auto dealer pleads not guilty to no finance license, false documents

Published 11:03 am Friday, December 14, 2012

Discrepancies in vehicle purchase records have resulted in a felony and gross misdemeanor charge against an auto dealer in Racine.

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

The investigator spoke with Jodene Kay Avant, 42, of Racine, who signed the purchase contract. No documents at the dealership listed a purchase price of $6,528. The court complaint adds 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 adds the purchase price was placed on the vehicle to avoid paying the full sales tax amount.

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Furthermore, the investigator discovered Avant does not have a license to finance customers, which is required by the Department of Commerce and Motor Vehicle Sales Finance.

Avant pleaded not guilty Thursday in Mower County Court for false information in a motor vehicle application, a felony, and gross misdemeanor engaging in business of sales finance without a license. Her pretrial is set for March 28.