Top FCA car salesman charged in wire fraud scheme, company says it cost them $8.7M
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (FOX 2) - The top FCA salesman in the entire country many of the past few years has been charged in a wire fraud scam that the automaker says cost them nearly $9 million.
Apollon 'Apollo' Nimo, 34, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud after federal officials said he ran a scam involving employee discounts to non-FCA employees. The criminal complaint shows the Macomb Township man was part of multiple groups on Facebook where FCA employee numbers were bought and sold.
According to the complaint, Nimo's scheme between 2014 and 2021 wound up in a loss of $8.7 million to FCA as he used Employee Purchase Control Number (EPCN) sales to become the top seller in the country.
EPCN gives FCA employees and their family members a 5% discount on purchases or leases of vehicles.
According to the complaint, family members, like brothers or sisters-in-law, can get the discount with an FCA employee number. These types of sales account for about 21% of all EPCN-related sales in 2019 but accounted for half of Nimo's sales that year.
Additionally, between 2014 and 2019, 87% of his sales were EPCN related.
Nimo, who is not an employee of FCA but does get paid for selling the company's cars, received $700,000 from FCA between 2014 and 2021.
FCA believes some, if not most, of his sales, were from fraudulent use of employee numbers and that 268 unauthorized EPCNs had been analyzed. They were all linked to Nimo.
So how did they get them? Feds say he was part of a black market of EPCN sales on private Facebook groups.
In 2014, his father, Salim, leased three cars from his son with EPCN numbers.
"For all three transactions for his father, Nimo stated that his father is the brother/sister-in-law of three separate FCA employees," the complaint said.
FCA investigators learned the numbers were bought and sold in the private Facebook groups and in several chats, Nimo was mentioned.
A manager at Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram told federal investigators that Nimo sold about 250 cars in January 2020. The same manager said Nimo sells more vehicles than entire sales departments at most FCA dealerships.
One man who leased three cars in December 2018 said Nimo told him about the FCA 5% discount. The same man told authorities Nimo could get him one for $600.
The man left, talked to his dad who advised him to speak to another man, who is a retired FCA employee. This man said the retiree gave him information to log in to the FCA portal to generate an EPCN.
Two days later, he contacted Nimo and said he had an EPCN and that Nimo guided him through the FCA portal to assign himself as the son-in-law of the retired man.
A month later, he leased another truck and asked Nimo about the legality. He said Nimo told him "FCA does not review the use of 'in-law' relationships with EPCN purchases."