A judge found a Carson City businessman not guilty on a misdemeanor charge Friday, but said there was enough evidence to try him on three felony charges in the illegal sale of vehicles.
Justice of the Peace John Tatro bound over Joe DiLonardo, 66, to District Court on two counts of allegedly falsifying ownership documents and one count of obtaining money under false pretenses.
According to court documents filed by Deputy District Attorney Matt Griffin, DiLonardo promised he had the title on a 1958 Mercedes Benz and sold the vehicle for $1,000 cash to Tony Abbasi of Ruhenstroth in April.
During Friday's hearing Abbasi said that when he went back the next day to DiLonardo's business, Great Western Motors, to receive the title, DiLonardo allegedly, "screamed at me. I don't have a title for that damn car!"
Abbasi said he asked for his money back and DiLonardo said he didn't have it. Abbasi said that when he asked DiLonardo to send a "dealer's report of sale," to the DMV, DiLonardo told him he no longer had his dealer's license and hung up.
DiLonardo's license was revoked in December for violations relating to consignment vehicles and failure to pay court judgments.
Abbasi said he has never been able to put a license on the Mercedes and it still sits in his garage.
David Woodward testified DiLonardo sold him a Isuzu truck for $4,600 and less than a year later, Woodward sold it to a neighbor for $2,000. When Griffin showed Woodward a certificate filed with the DMV purportedly having Woodward's signature and notarized by DiLonardo, Woodward said that was not his signature.
The woman who Woodward sold the car to, Amber Miller, said she went to DiLonardo because the title he'd given Woodward was no good, and he agreed to send the DMV paperwork claiming he'd sold her the car directly. Miller said DiLonardo charged her a title fee and taxes on the $2,000 she paid Woodward.
Griffin said he would likely file an additional felony charge of uttering a forged instrument based on Miller's testimony.
In January, an undercover DMV compliance officer issued DiLonardo a misdemeanor citation charging he violated Nevada law by attempting to sell him a vehicle without a dealer's license.
Tatro said there was insufficient evidence to prove DiLonardo was selling vehicles without a license.
- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.