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Ocean City Car Dealer Awaits Sentencing for Fraud

The 64-year-old head of an Ocean City car dealership could be given up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in November for defrauding buyers and lenders.

Harry Klause, the President, manager and operator of Harry Klause Cars and Trucks, pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud today in a Camden federal courtroom, say staffers in the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

According to case documents, Klause admitted buying trade-ins from customers shopping for other vehicles at this dealership and applying the trade-in price against the cost of another car. He agreed to pay down existing loans but ruined customer credit scores by neglecting to pay in a timely manner.

With loans outstanding and titles still in the hands of lenders, Klause resold the trade-ins to other customers. He steered buyers to finance firms but never forwarded titles, leaving the lenders no choice but to repossess the cars if loan payments stopped.

The wire fraud count also entails a possible fine of up to $250,000.

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