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Man convicted of kiting check at Barrington dealership tries same crime again—days after conviction

October 28, 2010

An area man who in 2008 reportedly kited checks at three dealerships in three weeks was convicted last month for his actions at one of the stores. By late December, he allegedly was at it again.

Police said Nicholas Ruffino, 32, spaced his visits two years ago to the three dealerships by about 40 miles each, first to a Chevrolet dealership in St. Charles, then a Lincoln-Mercury store in Barrington, then a Jaguar retailer in Naperville. The second and third dealers accepted trade-ins obtained from the preceding dealer. Employees at the Jaguar store ultimately sensed a scam because Ruffino wanted to flip his new Navigator so quickly.

Ruffino, said police, made minimum down payments in his attempts to trade up to pricier vehicles. All three vehicles were recovered.

Ruffino<​/span> was convicted Dec. 16 on a theft charge in conjunction with the Barrington dealership. By late December, an Elgin dealer stopped a deal with Ruffino after an Internet search uncovered a 2008 CATA Bulletin article on Ruffino’s actions.

"One of my Internet managers was working heavily with this individual," the Elgin dealer said. "When he wouldn’t give us enough info (sic) prior to delivery, we Googled his name.

"He stated that his lease is up and that he is driving his dad’s Hummer, but he wants to pay cash for a new vehicle. He states that he works off his Blackberry and is in meetings all day and that e-mail works best for him, so he avoids giving a phone number.

<​span>"We did press him and finally got a phone number; it was bad. He also stated that he is closing on a property, so he can’t put the vehicle on contract, but he plans on paying cash.

"His business manager is writing a check for the entire amount. He then suggested spotting the vehicle to him on a promissory note."

Ruffino has used his own identity in each of the cases. Police said that if he visits a dealership, personnel should ask him to leave and call their local police.