Andy Elliott’s Connection to the Big Red Dealerships
The Dealer Talk Family strives to offer the automotive retail space the highest level of information and education pertinent to our success as an industry. We do not know the full scope of the situations we are about to recount, we merely know what was provided through legal documentation and news articles. We are here to provide our insights and concerns.
We acknowledge that some may be upset with us for exposing the likelihood of the strong ethical deficits of Andy Elliott, but it is important to speak up. We encourage everyone to do their own research and make informed decisions.
You can read more regarding the prosecution of the Big Red/Norman Dealer Leadership by accessing the legal documents here.
In an excerpt from a news article by justice.gov titled “Federal Jury Convicts Norman Car Dealership Executives of Wire Fraud Conspiracy, Forgery, and Identity Theft,” dated November 21, 2021, the writer states:
“The Big Red Dealerships used advertisements to target potential customers with poor credit and that Mayes, Gooch, and Wells then fraudulently induced lenders to approve loans for such customers by documenting that the customers provided down cash payments and/or trade-in vehicles when that was untrue….In some circumstances, the purported cash down payment was fictitious, and the Big Red Dealerships referred to those payments as “King Cash” on internal documents. The jury also heard testimony that in late 2014, one lender discovered these fake cash down payments, and Mayes emailed threats to the CEO of that lender to stop the lender from further investigating the Big Red Dealerships.
….After loan proceeds were received from lenders, Big Red Dealership employees generated checks to the customers, forged the customers’ signatures on the backs, and deposited the checks in Big Red Dealership accounts.”
While the above quote identifies the succinct occurrences of the Norman, Oklahoma dealerships, it lacks a key point of information pertinent to today’s automotive industry. A fourth party was involved in the criminal activity. This person was Andy Elliott of the Elliott Group.
The conviction of Mayes, Gooch, and Wells occurred in 2021. The incidents brought before the court occurred between 2014 and 2019.
The dealerships actively participated in skirting banking rules, regulations, policies, and laws, and when they couldn’t bypass them with subterfuge, they resorted to the bribery of federal loan officers. Here are four of the main areas of fraud Mayes, Wells, Gooch, and Elliott participated in:
From the trial transcripts, dated November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 230, lines 20-25 and 231, lines 1-19. Andy Elliott,
“Okay. So in 2012, when I started, December 6, it was 24 something where — and that’s kind of how — you asked me what was the sales process like, when we ask a customer how much money down they have, you know when we would kind of figure out where we’re at on the deal, if that bank approval would come back at, like, 1,500 down and let’s say your customer did not have any money down, well, we would still put $1,500 on the contract. And, basically, we could still sell that customer a car, and then in the finance office, we would just give them a receipt showing that they gave us 1,500 down, make a copy of it, put it in the deal, the loan will fund. We would tell the customers that if you tell the bank you didn’t put the money down, obviously you’re not going to have a car because you’re going to need to bring it back, but we’re helping you out, so we’re putting 1,500 down for you in the contract because that’s what the banks need, and that was called King Cash, and it was fake cash down and it would allow us to sell more cars when customers didn’t have cash. And we would put it in the back screen on every deal, “King Cash,” and that means that it was just fake money, it didn’t exist, the customers never gave it to us.”
From the trial Transcripts, Date November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 379, lines 17- 25 and page 380, lines 1-17 (Donna is the loan officer that accepted bribes at Tinker. Her actions are what led to the FBI becoming involved.)
“we found that Tinker had a deal called “purchase price” on their buying grid… and it wasn’t a loan to value like we’ve been talking about, like 18 grand is what this is worth, so they’ll give this much money, it just said “purchase price,” which means we would literally take a $6,000 motorcycle and sell it for $26,000, and we could send it over and they would give us the money. So we needed—we needed to get those deals to Donna.”
From the trial transcripts, dated November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 353, lines 2-23. This is a question and answer between the lawyer Ms. Anderson and Andy Elliott:
A. They’re purchasing a 2010 F-150, with an invoice of 3 $12,500 and their sale price is 22,000.
Q. And up above that, does it have the terms, in terms of cash down, price, net trade? Is the down payment on here?
A. It says “zero cash down,” but it says “6,800” for the trade, so this one doesn’t have cash down on it.
Q. At the bottom of that page, what does it show they’re trading in?
A. A 2002 Kia Rio.
Q. And is this credit application something that goes to the lender?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q: What does it show they’re trading in?
A: A 2002 Kia Rio with 999,000 miles.
Q. Okay. And on the right side, it shows a trade-in allowance of how much for that?
Q. And this is in 2016.
From the trial Transcripts, Date November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 264, lines 1-8.
A. Norman Pawn & Gun was an entity that was created to basically — King Cash went away, it didn’t exist anymore, but our business was suffering because, you know, bad-credit customers don’t have cash down, without cash down, there’s no deals, no profit, so Norman Pawn & Gun was made to be the second version of King Cash, which means that now there’s actually an entity and we could say that we would pawn something from somebody and that would be the cash down.
And again: From the trial transcripts, dated November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 279, lines 11-25.
A. Yeah, I see now. It looks like there was two pawns on this one, or at least it looks like it, but it’s the same name. This one is a Mitsubishi TV for 2,250.
Q. Okay. And let’s go to the next one. What’s this pawn item?
A. A PlayStation 3 for $4,700.
Q. Okay. How about the next one?
A. A flash programmer — looks like a programmer for a car for $5,500.
Q. And the next one?
A. This is a weed eater for $4,700.
Q. The next one?
A. Ozark Trail outdoor equipment, looks like a tent. It’s a 24 tent for $6,000
Level of Involvement:
Despite multiple opportunities to extricate himself from the situation, Andy returned to the Oklahoma dealerships.
From the trial transcripts, dated November 5, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 429, lines 11-25.
Q. So yesterday we went through a timeline. And you left the dealership in — I think if we — we looked at that check, the $10,000 check, that was in mid June 2014; is that right?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. And you came back in January 2015; is that right?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. And then you left in October 2015?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. And you came back in January 2016?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. And then you said that you worked there until the summer of 2019; is that right?
During our investigation of the events, the Dealer Talk team felt compelled to contact Andy Elliott directly and let him offer his side of the story. Andy denied any participation stating that he had merely been a manager at one of the stores and was not directly connected.
This is not true. During the cross-examination, Andy Elliott gave an entirely different answer.
From the trial transcripts, dated November 5, 2021, Andy Elliott Cross-Examination by Mr. Behena, page 479, lines 1-6.
Q. And when you say “we” –
A. And I was a part of that.
Q. — you, right?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You were the one doing this?
Furthermore, Andy admits under oath to participating and actively manipulating, brainwashing, and bullying/running off those who would not fall in line. During this time, Andy Elliott was also building his training company, “The Elliott Group,” and using the Big Red Dealership employees as his first trainees. Employees intentionally chosen for their lack of ethics.
From the trial transcripts, dated November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, Page 243, lines 22-25 and 244 lines 1-16.
Q. And you said if an ethical person came in to work at the dealership, they didn’t last. What happened to them?
A. Well, so somebody would come in and if they started questioning, like, what we do — it’s, like, when I came in, I fell prey to making good money in this store, it’s my fault. I went with the flow and I started doing bad fraudulent stuff. I was making more money than I ever made. I made really bad decisions. Someone else comes in, and I was talking about ethical, they’re not going to sell their standards for money, then they’re, like, this is messed up, this isn’t right. And then we’re, like, we need this person out of here because we’re going to get in trouble or he’s going to rat us out.
Q. So did they get fired or what happened to them? How did they leave?
A. We would either just fire them or we would just run them off.
Q. How did you run them off?
A. Just by probably treating them bad.
Recently we ran across a video by The Homework Guy titled “JURY CONVICTS DEALERSHIP OWNERS, SENDS THEM TO FEDERAL PRISON!” In the video, The Homework Guy states:
“Dealership culture teaches, promotes, and encourages unethical behavior. No honest person could have ever survived 40 years of dealership culture without doing a lot of crooked stuff… Dealers are always walking with one foot in illegal activity.”
He continues his video using Andy as the example that proves his point, “We know they teach it everywhere…Right now, dealers hire this former GM as a car sales trainer.”
Andy Elliott’s behavior and training have been used, more than once, as the integrity standard for the automotive retail space, including by the FBI:
From the trial transcripts, dated November 4, 2021, Justin Lowrance Cross by Mr. Behena, page 191, lines 9-21.
Q. If a witness made a lot of videos, either teaching or trying to explain how to lie to people, would that be important to know?
A. It could be.
A. Depending on the context of what they’re talking about.
Q. No — well, how about sales, selling, how to be a salesman?
A. A car salesman?
A. Teaching people how to lie?
A. I guess that could be important.
Andy himself acknowledged the negative assessment of his character and role in the industry:
From the trial transcripts, dated November 4, 2021, Andy Elliott Direct by Ms. Anderson, page 240, lines 6-15.
A. Well, if somebody didn’t have money down and the bank required them to have money down, it was just not a deal, we would have had to let the customer leave. So if we put it down on the contract that they did have money down, then they bought a car. So it was how we picked up the market share, where other stores couldn’t sell these customers, we could.
Q. Right. So your market share was based on lies?
Andy Elliott received immunity for his crimes in exchange for testifying against Mayes, Wells, And Gooch. He works with industry leaders, such as Brian Benstock, Brad Lea, and others, as an automotive trainer and boasts a lucrative career spanning multiple decades.
Here is the information you need to know:
Court documents: https://tinyurl.com/2tuju5mw
News article cited on episode: https://tinyurl.com/2fxv2hux
Automotive News Article: https://tinyurl.com/mut8esxe