Authorities Search Vartanian Dealership

July 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Legal troubles seem to be mounting for Fresno businessman Kirk Vartanian. State DMV investigators raided his high-end car dealership ... looking for evidence.Vartanian was in court just Wednesday on assault and domestic violence charges. DMV investigators say it looked like someone got to the Auto Gallery before they did and ransacked business records. They've been investigating this case for three weeks. Wednesday Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit against Vartanian for nearly $28 thousand dollars.

DMV investigators say this luxury auto gallery has been closed for nearly three weeks. Water and electricity to the building has been cut, now the DMV is investigating seven complaints against owner Kirk Vartanian. They involve accusations of grand theft, embezzlement, failure to transfer, and theft by false pretense.

DMV detective Tom Wilson says all the claims involve inappropriate use of money and cars by Vartanian.

"Whether it was cash to purchase vehicles, or whether it was vehicles that were supposed to be delivered in some instances it was where vehicles were delivered here to be sold on consignment that were sold however the money was never delivered," said Wilson.

Vartanian's Attorney Daniel Bacon said, "That's all it is an investigation that's all it is there have been no charges filed or anything of that nature."

Vartanian is currently in the Fresno County Jail, facing domestic violence charges. His lawyers are also in Las Vegas dealing with charges of check fraud. He's accused of passing more than two hundred thousand dollars in bad checks at major casinos.

"If we had all the funds he owes we'd be over it right now but that's not the case," said Bacon.

A friend of Vartanian's believes he's innocent. He said "He's a good guy man, a stand up guy I've learned a lot from the guy as far as life lesson goes."

But Tom Moscatelli, an ABC 30 employee and former client of Vartanian's, has a different opinion. He said, "He's got what's coming to him."

Moscatelli says he purchased a high end vehicle from Vartanian two years ago, and is now out 35 hundred dollars for an extended warranty.

"He sold me an insurance policy for maintenance and I never received it," said Moscatelli.

Moscatelli's case is being reviewed by DMV investigators-who are also searching for missing vehicles.

Investigators have some leads on missing cars, but say they could be anywhere. A repossession agent showed up to the lot but refused to speak with us. Vartanian remains in jail on a $155 thousand dollar bond.

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