Used-car salesman guilty of 21 felonies
A jury Thursday returned guilty verdicts on 21 of 23 felony counts against a used-car salesman accused of defrauding customers by selling salvaged vehicles with fraudulent, clean titles.
Camden Fortney, 65, of Grand Junction, was ordered jailed without bond until his sentencing hearing scheduled for June 22. Fortney pleaded with District Judge Brian Flynn to remain free, saying he still needs to shut down his business, Camden Motors, 2148 Broadway, before a likely trip to prison.
“If I were in your shoes, I’d at least have a thought about fleeing,” Flynn said.
Flynn cited Fortney’s possible “substantial” prison term, in addition to testimony during Fortney’s trial showing he had either visited or lived part-time in Europe, in keeping him locked up before sentencing.
“It shows he knows ways to leave the country,” Flynn said.
Fortney was convicted on 15 counts of commercial bribery, four counts of theft and two counts of conspiracy. He was found not guilty on two counts of bribery.
Testimony during Fortney’s two-week trial included 17 people who had purchased vehicles from Camden Motors between 2005 and 2008.
A prosecutor with the Colorado Attorney General’s office argued Fortney would pay out bribes ranging from $100 to $500 to insurance adjusters in order to buy salvaged vehicles. The vehicles were later repaired, and Fortney passed them off as having clean titles, which allowed him to sell the vehicles for more money, prosecutor Terrence Gillespie told jurors.
Fortney’s defense offered testimony from customers who said they were pleased with their cars. The defense argued monies handed out by Fortney to various parties weren’t bribes, but given out of generosity.
Colorado Casualty Insurance ended up paying out $630,000 to buy back 52 vehicles with suspected fraudulent titles, according to testimony.