‘He took down a whole community’: Metro Detroit car salesman accused of scamming clients

Ricardo Perez under investigation in several Metro Detroit cities

Victims of an elaborate car sales scam are sharing their stories with Local 4′s Consumer Investigator Hank Winchester.

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. – Victims of an elaborate car sales scam are sharing their stories with Local 4′s Consumer Investigator Hank Winchester.

Police said a former car salesman was taking cash, selling stolen cars and collecting the personal information of clients who had no idea they were part of the money-making scheme. There are dozens of victims across several Metro Detroit cities. The stories from the victims are heartbreaking and shocking.

Ricardo Perez was recently arrested by police in Lincoln Park. Police said Perez was fired last year from Dick Scott Chrysler in Plymouth, but he never told his clients that he had been fired. Instead, he kept taking deposits, allegedly sold stolen cars and got some people involved in elaborate lease scams.

Read: Car salesman fired from Plymouth dealership accused of scamming clients, selling stolen cars

Christabelle Cabrera lost money in the car scam. She is one of the growing list of victims.

“Well, we’ve known Ricky forever. He deals with a lot of our travel baseball team. Everybody gets cars off them,” Cabrera said. “It was more hurtful than anything. Betrayal, I guess. He took down a whole community.”

She said he took down the travel baseball team and scammed at least eight parents on the team who trusted him.

“He pocketed the money so by the time ally and fraud department got to us it was too late. Then I find out that he took out a 2022 Dodge Ram on top of my Jeep that I had no clue that I even had to my name,” Cabrera said.

Perez is expected to be formally charged in Lincoln Park in March. Investigations are also underway in Plymouth, Livonia, Detroit and in Macomb County.

If you believe you were scammed by Perez you should contact police.

Read: Complete Help Me Hank coverage

Have a news tip? To reach Help Me Hank please call 313-634-WDIV (313-634-9348) or email at helpmehank@wdiv.com.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.