The parts manager of a Toyota dealership is accused of ordering thousands of dollars worth of parts for what he claimed were body shop orders, canceling the orders, then selling the parts on eBay, making over $500,000 in the process. James Norwood, who worked at Old Mill Toyota in Omaha, Neb., was charged with felony theft last week, the World-Herald reported.
Norwood’s alleged scheme, which police believe netted him around $548,000 since 2001, worked like this: Norwood allegedly would create fictitious parts tickets for local body shops under the names of other Old Mill employees who had already clocked out, then later cancel the orders so that the shops weren’t billed. When parts he ordered arrived, he would have employees stack them separately. He would then sell the parts on his eBay account.
Police found that Norwood, who started working at Old Mill in July 2000, had been selling Toyota parts on eBay since 2001. It’s believed that Old Mill lost $282,590 to his scheme since January 2005.
According to police, some of the parts sold by Norwood for a total of $226,000 included 798 bed extenders, 375 skid plates and 363 roof racks.
EBay customers praised Norwood in online reviews for his quick service and quality parts, the World-Herald says. In 2004, Norwood was in the hospital for antifreeze poisoning but still managed to deliver quality customer service: “In the hospital and is still getting his stuff sent out. Now that is dedication,” a reviewer wrote.
A controller at the dealership discovered Norwood’s fictitious parts tickets in the spring, spurring the investigation that led to criminal charges. Norwood quit Old Mill shortly after an investigator began questioning him about parts in May, the newspaper says.
Norwood, who could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty, is innocent, his attorney says.
“There isn’t any proof of wrongdoing,” attorney Michael Fitzpatrick told the newspaper.
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