Owner of a Local Car Dealership Charged with Fraud

State Police are charging the owner of Auto Exchange USA in Lancaster, Joshua Berney, with fraud, theft and impersonating a Notary, and misuse of dealer plates.  Investigators say Berney sold cars to people without paying off existing loans or notifying the dealership’s floor planner of the sale.  Instead, they say he kept cash down payments and finance checks.  As a result, titles weren’t released to buyers or the financing company that approved the purchase.

Police also say Berney assigned state imposed fees that should have been used to transfer the title of the vehicle and /or register the vehicle.  The costs he charged were illegal due to the fact he is not a Notary or authorized to impose those fees by the state and were more than what the state would charge.  Subsequent to the sale of a vehicle, a Notary or authorized agent will normally issue a temporary registration.  Investigators say Berney illegally issued dealer registration plats to customers to use.  He also allegedly issued Department of Transportation documents that are only permitted to be completed by authorized agents.  The customer copy of those documents is called the ‘pink slip.’

Berney turned himself into the District Court and was assigned bail.