According to inquiries to TruthOrFiction.com, there are people in
Tennessee, Okalahoma, and California who have collectively paid
thousands of dollars for what they thought were too good to be
true prices on used cars. They were told that the cars were
from a group of 4,000 vehicles that were part of a rental fleet
owned by a multi-millionaire. The story was that the owner
had died and had specified in his will that he wanted the cars
sold for low prices to Christians who needed them. That was
several months ago and so far, according to the buyers, none of the cars has materialized. One odd twist
is that the contracts are with a woman in Memphis, Tennessee, and
involving a business called Auto Emporium, but some of the buyers
have also been told to split their payments for the cars between
the Memphis woman and various Christian ministries and that the
portions paid to the ministries will be "donations" and,
therefore, tax deductible. Most of the people who have put
money down on cars have learned of the opportunity through other
church members. When expressing concern over the fact that
the cars have not materialized, buyers are told that the delay is
because of probate and that the cars will be available soon.
None of the buyers has been given any specific information on the
cars such as vehicle identification or license numbers. Some
of them say that the person whose name is on the contract is not
the person they deal with and give their money to.
According to the Better Business Bureau, they've received
inquiries about Auto Emporium and this estate automobile sale from
more than 20 states and from as far back as 2000. The BBB
says most of the buyers have been under the impression they are
getting cars from the estate of a
millionaire named John Bowers. Some of them have been told
the cars are in California. Others have been told they are
in New York. The BBB has asked Auto Emporium
for proof of the estate, the estate's attorneys, and the fleet of
cars but has not gotten a reply.
Additionally, the Better Business bureau says that information
they have on file indicates that an investigation by the U.S.
Attorney's office has concluded that the cars being offered to not
The BBB has issued a statement that warns, "The Better Business Bureau cautions prospective purchasers that, given the conclusions of federal investigators, you will lose any money that you send to this company or to anyone else connected with this offering."
A Fraud investigator for the Bartlett, Tennessee police
department, where Auto Emporium is located, says they are aware of the complaints and refer all
calls to the FBI. The FBI declined to confirm
whether they are investigating but said they are interested in any
information from people who have made any of the purchases.
They encourage you to call your nearest FBI office to make a
Last updated 4/10/02