CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — State and local investigators raided a Cherokee County couple’s home Friday morning, arresting them in an alleged scam that ties back to their former Dalton car dealership.
Roy and Tychell Johnson are both facing felony theft by deception charges for allegedly pawning a 2007 Cadillac Escalade in 2017 and selling it to a Georgia woman.
The woman’s complaint ended up in the Whitfield County Tax Commissioner’s office after the car buyer learned there was a lien on the 2007 Escalade she’d paid the Johnson’s $12,000 in cash for this January. It was purchased at the Georgia Cash Cars dealership.
The Johnsons claimed the car belonged to Tychell Johnson and she had the title.
But the car title had been pawned in August 2018, according to investigators. The car buyer, Nancy Rodriguez told Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr that the couple eventually stopped taking her calls after weeks of claiming the state had the proper paperwork.
She says she’s three temporary tags into the deal, and she found out from the Whitfield County tag office that the couple should not have been printing them at their Dalton dealership.
“They lied to us,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said received a call from Roy Johnson after she visited the tag office with her complaint.
“(He said,) 'You did what you weren’t supposed to.’ I said, ‘No, I did what I was supposed to because you never told me the truth,’ and he was really mad,” Rodriguez said.
On Friday morning, state revenue agents took used dealership tags off the couple’s three cars. Two of them were parked in the driveway, while an SUV sat in the garage. The agents said they enlisted the help of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office because Roy Johnson had a violent, criminal background.
When a child in the home answered the door, Tychell Johnson came downstairs, yelling at other children in the house.
“Tell your Dad to get the cash out! Hurry up!” Johnson yelled.
While Roy Johnson said nothing as he came out of the house handcuffed, Tychell Johnson told Carr to “get out of my face,” when Carr asked whether the cash she was referring to tied back to the botched car deal.
“They actually did mention that they planned on resolving this today,” said Josh Waites, director of special investigations for the Georgia Department of Revenue. “But we’d been in contact with them for months, and they have yet to resolve it.”
Rodriguez says she wishes she’d laid eyes on the title before handing over the cash. State records show when the Johnsons shut down the Dalton dealership soon after that sale, they moved the business to Acworth. Today, there’s an empty car lot, with no sign they ever did business there.
“Make sure you see a copy of any and all paperwork, and it’s a good idea to do a third party check with Carfax or something like that,” said William Gaston, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Revenue.
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