Authorities are searching for a Longview used car dealer wanted on allegations that he hindered creditors.
Michael Carl Hester, 51, who owns Dealers Choice auto sales in White Oak, faces a charge of hindering a secure credit of money or property valued between $2,500 and $30,000 — a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail. The arrest warrant was issued Wedneday.
Gregg County records show that Hester has not been apprehended.
The Better Business Bureau indicated online Monday that Dealers Choice is “out of business.” Phone calls to the dealership were met with an intermittent tone but no answer.
Criminal investigators reviewed several documents from Guaranty Bank and Trust, which for several years provided financing for Hester to purchase vehicles for his dealership’s inventory, according to records obtained Monday from the district clerk’s office.
Bank directors said Hester borrowed money in April 2016 to buy vehicles and was expected to pay it back by April 15, 2017, but the loan has since gone into default, according to investigators.
When a bank officer visited Dealer’s Choice on June 7, “he found only one person present who told him that no cars were sold in the month of May,” according to records. The bank learned on June 26 that Hester was relocating vehicles from the dealership, though the bank “recovered some of the vehicles that had been removed from the dealership.”
Bank directors said four vehicles have not been returned nor have the proceeds from the sale of the vehicles been applied to Hester’s promissory note despite demands by the bank, according to investigators.
Law enforcement officials later learned that Hester sold a pickup to an Upshur County resident on May 3, but the proceeds from that sale were never applied to Hester’s loan with Guaranty Bank, according to records. Hester has not responded to several attempts of contact both from investigators and from the bank.