Clovis car dealership heads to jail for million dollar fraud

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) — The long saga of a Clovis auto broker who swindled over $1 million from his clients is nearing a resolution.

The deal seemed almost too perfect to Mark Bennett.

Clovis’ auto broker, Scott Radtke, got him the exact vehicle he wanted and for about $2,000 less than Bennett could find anywhere else.

“I got out and saw it and at that time what I didn’t know was that I already owned this vehicle,” Bennett said.

Or he didn’t have it at all.

Bennett put down a deposit and took out a loan, but later discovered that Radtke had pocketed it all. He also forged documents to secure a second loan in Bennett’s name.

Months later, Bennett had made payments on a loan, but a repo man took the vehicle and Bennett had lost about $10,000.

He eventually discovered that his case was not unique in 2016 and 2017.

DMV investigators said they stopped counting Radtke’s victims somewhere after 50, including Anne Scheid.

“What happened to a man that was a preacher’s son?” she says. “He obviously loved what he did, my first car. And something happened in his heart and took him to a really dark place.”

Scheid had bought a Prius through Radtke in 2007 and everything went well.

She lost a few thousand dollars when she returned ten years later, and yet she counts herself among the lucky ones.

Other customers lost more money.

Some of them, like Bennett, lost months trying to piece together what happened while seeing their credit scores ruined.

“I just want people to recognize the damage,” Bennett said. “And if they can help some of those people, then that’s wonderful.”

Radtke reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, admitting one count of bank fraud and one count of identity theft.

He delayed his sentence twice, citing the serious health problems of a member of his family.

His defense attorney told Action News that those issues coincided with Radtke’s “derailment.”

Bennett and Scheid say they sympathize, but that doesn’t change their opinion of Radtke’s fraud.

“There is no excuse,” Bennett said. “It’s not a heat of passion, just a crazy moment. It’s calculated. It’s strategic. It’s wrong.”

For now, Radtke is due to be sentenced in federal court in November. The minimum sentence will be two years in prison and restitution of more than $1.3 million.

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