Car dealer allegedly scammed disabled

LOS ANGELES - Investigators with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs arrested unlicensed car dealer Charles Raymond Kutz last week on charges that he allegedly bilked disabled people who were looking to buy customized vehicles.Authorities said they receive more than a dozen complaints against Kutz and his Canoga Park business, Adaptive Driving Systems, which was not licensed to sell vehicles. Kutz, 57, was charged with 14 counts of grand theft. Investigators allege that Kutz did not deliver vehicles he was paid for, did not turn over vehicle titles, did not pay off the balance of vehicle trade-ins and did not pay for vehicles given to him on consignment. Kutz and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and were granted a discharge on April 26, 2009. The bankruptcy meant that victims could not recover on their claims against him. One of Kutz's alleged victims was George Brown, who has battled cerebral palsy his entire life. In 2008, Brown purchased a van from Kutz, who also agreed to sell Brown's old van. Kutz allegedly sold the old van, but never paid Brown for it. "Mr. Kutz caused great financial and emotional harm to consumers with disabilities and their families," said Rigo Reyes, acting director at the Department of Consumer Affairs. "We will do all we can to hold him accountable for his actions." Kutz's mother posted $150,000 bail on Sept. 22. He is due back in court on Oct. 14.

********** Published: September 30, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 24