Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Car Salesman Pleads Guilty

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Car Salesman Pleads Guilty

Article excerpt

WOODBINE -- It took 25 minutes for Assistant District Attorney

George Turner to read the charges -- 21 felonies and one

misdemeanor -- filed against Harold Strickland.

It may be a lifetime before Strickland, a former car salesman,

gets out of prison if a judge imposes the maximum penalty on

each charge and they run consecutively.

Strickland pleaded guilty yesterday to seven felony counts of

secreting property to defraud another, 13 felony counts of theft

by taking and one misdemeanor count of theft by taking.

Each felony theft count is punishable by up to 10 years in

prison. Each felony defraud count is punishable by up to five

years in prison. The misdemeanor count is punishable by up to 12

months in jail, according to state guidelines.

Strickland, 44, of Waycross, was accused of selling customers

at Kings Bay Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep Eagle new cars with

forged paperwork, stealing down payments and illegally selling

trade-in vehicles from the dealership's lot from April through

November 1996.

Strickland was arrested on the charges in November 1996 in

Douglas, according to investigators with the Camden County

Sheriff's Office. He was held at the Camden County Jail until a

$57,550 property bond was posted on Dec. 17, 1996.

Strickland was arrested again on Aug. 23, 1997 in Lowndes

County, where he worked at Homes for Better Living, selling

mobile homes. He was accused of taking at least $1,600 in

deposits from the business.

While investigators with the Camden County Sheriff's Office

said Strickland was the only employee at the auto dealership who

cheated customers, Lloyd Thompson Jr., the defendant's lawyer,

said evidence will come out showing that's not the case.

"He's not the only person involved in this," Thompson said.

But Turner said his office had no evidence implicating any

other employees. The dealership was sold last year. …

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