Woman takes plea bargain in dealership fraud probe
One of three people accused in a theft and bribery scheme involving a Grand Junction car dealership is expected to sign off on a plea agreement, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Mary Catherine Cross, 48, an insurance adjuster who lives in Arapahoe County, could enter a plea at her July 8 Mesa County court appearance.
Terrence Gillespie, senior assistant Colorado attorney general, told Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn on Tuesday morning the deal calls for Cross to receive a deferred judgment and sentence upon pleading guilty to a single count of commercial bribery, a Class 6 felony. After the hearing before Flynn, Gillespie declined to discuss other terms of the deal.
Cross testified to a state grand jury in the investigation of Camden Motors, and she is still cooperating with prosecutors, Gillespie told the judge Tuesday.
“I don’t feel prolonging things would create a better outcome for me,” Cross said, when asked by the judge why she wanted to take a deal just weeks after a grand jury’s indictment.
Cross appeared before Flynn without an attorney.
Gillespie on Tuesday formally filed charges from a 40-count grand jury indictment handed up mid-May against Camden Page Fortney, 66, the owner of Camden Motors, as well as Terry Randall Robinson, 48, another insurance adjuster.
Fortney was in the business of buying wrecked vehicles, repairing them and reselling them.
Fortney, who faces 23 felony charges, is accused of paying bribes to Robinson and Cross, who in exchange sent “clean titles” back to Camden Motors. With the clean titles, Camden Motors could get more money for the vehicles when they were resold.
Some 52 vehicles, which should have had salvage titles, had been improperly sold to Fortney by Robinson and Cross, who were working for Colorado Casualty Insurance.
Once the titles had come into question, Colorado Casualty Insurance paid more than $500,000 to buy back vehicles suspected of having fraudulent titles. However, the vehicles already had been re-sold by Fortney.
Authorities allege the scheme occurred from 2005 to 2008.