CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The owner of two local car dealerships is facing felony charges.
Rafael Suarez, owner of Caribbean Auto Sales in Chesapeake and Don Rafa Auto Sales in Carrollton, is charged with obtaining a vehicle registration by false pretense, false statement on an application for vehicle title and fraudulent conversion.
A former customer told 10 On Your Side that he isn’t surprised.
“It makes me feel a lot better, because I never went and tried to pursue anything on it, I just let it go. But it definitely makes me feel a lot better,” said Adam Wenzel, of Newport News.
Wenzel said he purchased a 1996 Ford F-150 from Caribbean Auto Sales in 2014, after seeing the truck on Craigslist.
“[Suarez] seemed like somebody you could trust, real trustworthy, real smooth-talker,” he said.
Wenzel said he bought the truck for $1,000 and was given temporary tags and no title. Eventually he was cited for driving with expired tags and an unregistered vehicle.
“Usually, you expect your tags and title to come later on in the month. A month and a half later, they never showed up and I had to drive all the way back out to Chesapeake [in a family member’s vehicle] in order to get the title and register it myself,” Wenzel said.
Wenzel believes he was scammed, and ultimately spent hundreds of extra dollars that he hadn’t been prepared to spend.
“I mean, you could look at the inspection sticker and tell that it was ripped off somewhere else and put on there. It didn’t look that great,” he said.
According to DMV Spokesperson Brandy Brubaker, investigators with her department, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and state police raided the businesses last week.
10 On Your Side went to both of them on Monday.
A man inside the Carrollton location, on Brewers Neck Road, said he didn’t know where Suarez was, and that the business is temporarily closed.
At Caribbean Auto Sales, located on Indian River Road, no one was there.
Brubaker said customers who have purchased vehicles from one of the dealerships and have questions. call DMV investigators at 757-455-0881.