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Cars turn up missing after state shuts down leasing company

The state Division of Motor Vehicles has shut down Investment Auto Sales & Leasing, and some customers of the consignment sales operation don't know what happened to their vehicles.

As many as 50 people may be victims of the now-defunct operation, Ogden police said.The company purportedly sold cars for a percentage. Police said the dealer told many of the car owners that sales proceeds would then be sent to lenders to pay off loan balances.

Investigators allege Investment Auto managers often called car owners after seeing their classified ads and offered to sell their vehicles for them.

Angie Erickson took her 1995 Suzuki Sidekick to Investment a few weeks ago after she was contacted by the dealership.

"I thought, `What a great idea.' I work and I'm a student and I don't really have time to show my car," Erickson said.

Two weeks ago she went down to Investment's lot after friends told her the place had been shut down. She saw no sign of her vehicle.

"I've lost my car," she said. "I don't know where it is."

At least three other people who took their cars to Investment have reported them stolen, police said. Investigator Todd Watanabe said the company says it can account for the all the automobiles.

Investigators, including Jim Payne of the state motor vehicle division, say they are frustrated that a state statute regarding consignment sales only makes violations a class B misdemeanor.