A federal judge this week sentenced a Billings auto dealer to 18 months in prison and ordered restitution of nearly a half-million dollars for defrauding a bank.
Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon on Wednesday sentenced Daniel Young, 35, of Billings, to the high end of the guideline range for his guilty plea to bank fraud. He imposed $490,153 restitution.
Haddon allowed Young to report to prison when assigned to a facility.
Young, who owned and operated Auto Plaza Inc., 1617 First Ave. N., admitted he defrauded First Interstate Bank by failing to repay loans on vehicles he sold.
Auto Plaza operated with financing from First Interstate Bank and Dealer Services Corp., said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr. An investigation found that Young and others at his request would fail to repay the bank and financing company for money loaned to the dealership on vehicles that had been sold, she said.
Young instead used the sale proceeds to pay other bills and vendors, make payroll and pay off liens on unrelated sales, Fehr said. Young had two co-owners from 2007 to 2010, but Young was the primary operator and handled the daily financial transactions, she said.
Defense attorney Brian Kohn asked for a sentence of a year and a day, which would allow Young to earn time off his sentence for good behavior. Fehr recommended a 13-month sentence.
At sentencing, the judge ordered a letter submitted on Wednesday by Ronald Arneson, a Billings attorney, to be filed in the case.
Arneson said Young should be sentenced to the maximum term because he was continuing to defraud customers. He alleged that Young, in April, had defrauded a client, who had consigned a truck for sale with his company, MTK Auto. Young recently changed the name to Auto Central, he said.
Young first told Arneson’s client that the truck had been moved to another lot, then said it had been stolen but he didn’t make a report of the loss, Arneson said. His client learned of Young’s federal court case through another car dealer.
Haddon did not consider the letter in sentencing Young but ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.