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Attorney general's office charges local leasing company with fraud

November 23, 2010

Automotive Lease Corporation, which conducted business .with many area dealers, has been sued by the Illinois attorney general's office for fraud, for charges ranging from not paying loan balances on trade-in vehicles to submitting payoff checks that subsequently bounced. The suit against Automotive Lease Corporation, based in Schaumburg and with offices in Roselle, Orland Park, Gurnee and Belvidere, seeks to prevent the company from advertising, offering for sale, or selling vehicles in Illinois, and to force the company to reimburse any consumers harmed by its actions.

The suit, filed in September in Cook County, also seeks against the defendant a $50,000 fine for violating the Consumer Fraud Act and $50,000 for each act of fraud. Automotive Lease reportedly contacted lessees and offered to purchase their current leased vehicles in order to lease the customers another new or used vehicle, under the "ALC Early Termination Program." Automotive Lease, according to the suit, "misled consumers into believing that payoffs on their trade-in vehicles had been made by providing them with copies of 'payoff' checks that (the defendant) never sent to the named 'payor' or financial institution."

Regarding dealers, Automotive Lease allegedly acquired vehicles without paying for them and without obtaining certificates of origin, then leased the vehicles to consumers. The defendant subsequently failed to apply for new license plates or transfer existing plates, pursuant to its lease and/ or purchase agreements with consumers. The company reportedly is out of business.