Gettysburg Auto Exchange owner and manager sentenced to prison for charity fraud

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The former owner and General Manager of the Gettysburg Auto Exchange were sentenced today for defrauding charities and donors of used vehicles out of hundreds thousands of dollars. William C. Stake, 41, of Chambersburg,  the former owner of Gettysburg Auto Exchange, was sentenced to 27 months’ in jail. David R. Burk, 65, also of Chambersburg, the former General Manager of the Gettysburg Auto Exchange, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and two years’ of supervised release. Both men were ordered to jointly pay $524,694 in restitution.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Stake and Burk were charged in November 2011 with operating and conspiring to operate a scheme to defraud charities who used the Gettysburg Auto Exchange to sell vehicles donated by private individuals for charitable causes. Gettysburg Auto Exchange agreed to assist non-profit organizations that solicited the public to donate used vehicles to charities. The charities would then arrange with various used car dealers/auctions to sell the donated vehicle and to send the proceeds from the sale to the charities, which would then distribute the funds to the particular charitable causes and institutions.
The non-profit charities entered into agreements with Gettysburg Auto Exchange to collect, transport and sell donated used vehicles and to send the proceeds to the charities, with the
transportation fee and selling fee deducted from the proceeds by the Gettysburg Auto Exchange. Stake, assisted by Burk, engaged in a scheme to defraud both the charities and the donors of the used vehicles by selling the vehicles and keeping a significant portion of the proceeds of the sale for himself. Stake created fictitious bills of sale indicating that the vehicles had been sold at less than the actual price. These fictitious bills of sale were then sent to the victim charities as proof that they had received the full sale price of the donated vehicle. As a result, the charities were defrauded of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Stake pleaded guilty to mail fraud and Burk pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod prosecuted the
case.