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RV Dealer Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Charges

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

The owner of a Jacksonville, Ill., business waived indictment and admitted in federal court to a mail fraud and money laundering scheme to defraud people and financial institutions of at least $1 million.

Gebhardt Trailer Sales owner Jacklyn Still, also known as Jacklyn Gebhardt, 49, of Lynn Haven, Fla., pleaded guilty March 29 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore in Springfield to mail fraud and money laundering, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier reported. Sentencing is set for July 25.

Mail fraud carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Money laundering carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

The government is also seeking forfeiture of at least $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.

As part of her plea, Gebhardt forfeited interest in four properties, including three in Jacksonville –101 Adele Court, 109 Pearl Place and 1111 Hall Drive – and about 34 acres at 12016 North County Road 1650 E. in Havana.

Gebhardt admitted that she engaged in various schemes from June 2004 through about April 26, 2010. She accepted motorhomes on trade based on the representation that, as part of the trade, the loan securing the motorhome would be paid. Gebhardt admitted she resold the motorhomes without paying off the original loan and kept the full amount, which left two parties responsible for loans secured by a single vehicle.

Gebhardt also sold others’ motorhomes on consignment with the agreement that when a unit was sold, she was to turn over the sale amount, minus her commission, to the owner. Gebhardt admitted that on several occasions between July 2008 and February 2010, she sold a consignment vehicle to another party but did not turn money over to the owner or pay off previous liens.

Gebhardt also admitted that on at least two occasions after she sold a motorhome and secured financing, she contacted the buyer and falsely represented that she had found more favorable financing from a second financial institution. Gebhardt sent the financing forms to the buyer and when it was sent back to her, she forwarded it to the financial institution and received the money for a second loan. But instead of paying off the first loan, Gebhardt kept the money, leaving the buyer with two outstanding loans.

Around June 2007, Gebhardt entered into an agreement with a Jacksonville bank to receive an advance of about $1.8 million. On several occasions, when bank representatives made inspections of the inventory, Gebhardt falsely represented that the collateral was at another location, that potential buyers were testing the units or the units were being customized elsewhere.

In fact, Gebhardt admitted that she had sold the vehicles to others without making payment to the bank as promised. During the same time period, Gebhardt admitted she fraudulently pledged trailers and motor homes as collateral for loans or lines of credit to at least two other financial institutions.

After the FBI took possession of the trailer sales company’s files, computers and other records in February 2010, the business filed for bankruptcy protection. The petition listed $6.1 million in liabilities and $136,200 in assets. The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office took possession of dealer plates, licenses and title applications for customers that same month, according to documents. Jacksonville Savings Bank also seized a 2002 Sterling motorhome and three trailers in December 2009 and Textron Financial seized a United Spectra motorhome in November 2009.

There are also claims listed for $21,200 in unpaid taxes, including $13,200 owed to the Illinois Department of Revenue, $1,000 in taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service and $7,000 in 2009 real estate taxes owed to the Morgan County Treasurer.

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