GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Police say a man posing as a salesman for a major metro car dealership has fooled several people out of money for cars he’s never owned.
Police say Jeff Manders is an imposter and thief. They are now looking for him and an untold number of victims.
Channel 2’s Tony Thomas spoke with one of the alleged victims who thought everything was legit.
Derrick Ansley told Thomas he showed up to a back lot of Mall of Georgia Honda believing he was buying a car from the dealership.
“I was buying the car for my mother, she is disabled,” Ansley said.
Ansley says he gave Manders a $1,900 deposit Sunday afternoon for a 2002 Honda Accord. The car, along with another truck, was advertised on Craigslist. At the time, Ansley thought Manders was a Mall of Georgia Honda salesman.
“He came out like he was coming out of the building,” Ansley said.
Manders runs his own car business but Gwinnett police say, Sunday, he met three different people in the back lot of the Mall of Georgia Honda, taking $3,600 in deposits for the same car. Investigators say Manders forged a sales manager’s signature.
“He told me that the key was locked in service. I said, ‘OK.’ And he said, ‘So you can put your deposit down and we will hold it until Monday,’” Ansley said.
“After taking the deposit from these folks, he never returned to make the transaction happen,” Gwinnett County police Capt. Ed Ritter said.
Thomas called Manders and said he was more than willing to talk. Manders insisted he’s returning the money. He claims he was advance selling the cars and planned to buy the vehicles wholesale from the dealership Monday morning.
Thomas asked Manders if he was doing anything illegal and Manders said, “Yes and no. To be perfectly honest, it’s a gray area, very gray.”
Thomas asked Ansley if he has any faith that he will get his money back and he said, “I hope so.”
Investigators said Manders is wanted by DeKalb police and the U.S. marshals on similar charges.
Manders told Thomas, he plans on turning himself in sometime Friday.