Regardless of what some folks out west might want you to believe, Detroit is still the unrivaled center of the American automotive industry. A large percentage of the population in the Metro Detroit area is made up of folks who work for one of the automakers, or are related to someone who does. For this reason, a ton of people around here are able to cash in on employee discounts that the automakers offer for employees and their extended family. Now though, a report from Automotive News is shining light on a massive scam that took place using these Employee Purchase Control Numbers at Parkway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, which reportedly cost FCA a massive $8.7 million since 2014.
Discount Codes For Days
According to the report, FCA salesman Apollon Nimo of Parkway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram made an absolute killing for himself by illegally buying and selling Employee Purchase Control Numbers online. Nimo allegedly engaged in this activity through Facebook, and used these employee discounts to help propel himself as one of the automaker’s top salesmen. In fact, Nimo was FCA’s top salesman nationwide at various points through his scamming tenure. In January of 2020 alone, Nimo managed to sell more than 250 vehicles, which is more than what many dealerships as a whole can muster. Considering these Employee Purchase Control Numbers give customers a chance to knock five percent off of their total purchase price, it isn’t surprising that Nimo was so popular in Metro Detroit.
According to an affidavit filed on Friday in U.S. District Court, Nimo listed thousands of customers as either the brother-in-law or sister-in-law of an FCA employee during their purchase process. He would then use EPCN’s that he purchased online to complete the sale, oftentimes without the rightful owner of the discount code knowing. The plot came crashing down however when other employees began to point out the unauthorized use of their codes to FCA. When the automaker sent a list of 268 of these mysterious sales to Homeland Security for investigation, Special Agent Joseph Kunnummyalil was able to track all of them back to Nimo.
Nimo Costs FCA $8.7 Million
This bit of trickery didn’t just cost FCA money from a sales perspective either. According to the automaker, Nimo was paid over $700,000 between 2010 and 2019 as reward for his great sales numbers. Combined with the number of fraudulent employee discounts he shared, FCA estimates the Metro Detroit resident is responsible for over $8.7 million in lost profits. Nimo was arrested last week, and faces a preliminary exam for his actions on May 21 with U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti. Nimo was released on bond on April 30.
“Automobile sales play a major role in our state’s economy,” Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a statement. “Corruption of the sort alleged in today’s complaint imposes costs on automotive manufacturers that are ultimately passed to consumers. The charges announced today are serious and reflect my office’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of this market.”
Takeaways From The Alleged Crime
There is no word yet as to whether or not Parkway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram will face any repercussions for the scandal, or whether management knew what was taking place. That said, Nimo himself is not likely to get off easy in this case. Homeland Security, the Clinton Township Police Department, and FCA corporate investigators all played a role in busting this case open. Combine that with how important automakers are to the local economy, and the accused may end up serving as an example to others for his alleged activity.