PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Pinellas detectives arrested the former owner of Park Auto Mall after a 3-year investigation.
Ed Stackhouse and his wife traded in their car for a larger one at Park Auto Mall in Pinellas Park.
His contract shows the dealership agreed to pay off the trade-in but Stackhouse said it never happened and he and his wife were on the hook for two car payments.
Sandy Krystosek is not part of the criminal case but says Park Auto Mall’s closing ruined her financially. In her case, the van they purchased was under the dealer’s warranty package when it left her and her children stranded on the side of the road.
She discovered the dealership closed and had no money to pay for repairs.
Pinellas County Consumer Protection's 3-year investigation into 31 complaints, most of which involved trade-ins that were never paid off, led to the arrest of the 53-year-old last month.
Fred Najjar who bonded out of the Pinellas jail, faces three felonies including scheming to defraud and theft from the state. We were unable to reach Najjar for a comment.
His attorney, Jay Hebert, contacted us regarding the case. His firm is investigating the fact the company changed hands around the time many of the complaints were filed.
Park Auto Mall left behind a $25,000 bond. But with 31 victims in Pinellas County alone, most have never seen a dime. Their only hope now is for a conviction and order for restitution.