By Adam W. Pittman on June 6, 2015
Serra Nissan General Manager Randy Visser has entered a guilty plea to criminal conspiracy charges involving wrongdoing at Serra Nissan. Visser was accused of defrauding Nissan North America by falsifying sales reports in a scheme to collect incentive bonuses from the carmaker. Maximum punishment for the federal crime is up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000, according to court documents released June 5, 2015.
Visser is the highest ranking Serra Nissan employee charged in the continuing federal probe of activities at multiple Serra auto dealerships. Eight former employees, including sales managers and finance managers have pled guilty to criminal charges. Serra Nissan’s controller Kimberly H. Branch, is free on bond after being arrested on criminal charges earlier this week.
In addition to charges of fraud against Nissan North America, the sweeping federal investigation has netted guilty pleas on charges involving fraud that targeted customers.
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A lawsuit filed in federal court in Birmingham on June 1, 2015 seeks to have customers who were victims of Serra Nissan’s fraud declared a Class to assure they are compensated fairly for their financial losses. Attorneys with Cory Watson, P.C. filed suit ( #CV-15-HGD-0914-S, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama) on behalf of a Birmingham couple who charge they were injured by Serra’s predatory lending practices. The suit seeks Class Action status to represent all Serra customers who were victims of fraud.
“This suit is for the Serra victims who haven’t had a voice, the individuals and families who suffered devastating financial harm as a result of the criminal activity at Serra Nissan,” said Cory Watson, P.C. attorney Jerome Tapley who represents Plaintiffs in the case.
“The Serra bosses will likely be ordered to pay back the money they stole from Nissan North America, and now it’s time to hold Serra accountable for what they did to their customers,” said Tapley who points out that dealership bosses have been trying desperately to distance themselves from the consumer fraud case. Said Tapley, “it’s time for somebody at Serra to step up and do the right thing for the individuals and families who suffered financial harm at the hands of Serra’s underhanded practices.”