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Stowe resident accused of multi-million dollar auto loan fraud

William Walter McKibbin III, a photo supplied by Vermont State Police.

ST. ALBANS – man who was living in Vermont as a car salesman, evading a Michigan arrest warrant on 21 charges related to auto loan fraud, was taken into custody late on Tuesday after returning from a Father’s Day trip to Montreal, according to court documents and testimony from his wife.

William Walter McKibbin III appeared in court Wednesday and will likely be extradited to Michigan, where he faces up to 120 years in prison for charges dating back to 2014.

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He is accused of running companies that sold over $20 million worth of auto loans, some of which charged more than 200% interest, well over the legal limit. In Michigan alone, McKibbin was part of companies that sold fraudulent auto loans totaling more than $285,000, according to a Vermont State Police statement.

At Wednesday’s hearing at the The Franklin County criminal court, Judge. A. Gregory Rainville decided that the Michigan arrest warrant against McKibbin did not have enough information to determine whether McKibbin “probably committed the crime” — a requirement under Vermont law when considering extradition requests.

Deputy State’s Attorney Ashley Harriman, who is prosecuting the case, asked for three more days to gather additional documents. Rainville agreed, and said the hearing will continue on June 24.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said it is confident that McKibbin will be brought back to the midwestern state soon.

The companies McKibbin was involved with have been charged with fraud in at least four states. The companies operated under names including Autoloans LLC, Liquidation LLC, Car Loan LLC, Sovereign Lending Solutions, and Title Loan America, according to court records and news reports.

McKibbin has also had several different business partners. One of them, Mark Weiner, 66, is headed to Michigan after waiving extradition for similar charges, according to the Palm Beach Post.

McKibbin has been charged with inflating interest rates beyond what is allowed under state laws, according to the Michigan arrest warrant. Few states permit interest rates to exceed 20%; McKibbin and his colleagues have been accused of setting rates over ten times that number. McKibbin and his partners allegedly told employees they did not have to follow the law because the organization was not a U.S. company.

There have been cases against McKibbin, his partners, and their businesses in states including Pennsylvania, Colorado, and North Carolina, according to online court records.

While the organizations were based in Boca Raton, Florida, and the Cayman Islands, their reach spread nationwide. Until now, however, McKibbin has failed to appear in court or respond to any accusations. In May, the Detroit News reported that Michigan authorities believed McKibbin to be in Panama.

He was, in fact, living in Stowe, Vermont.

After stints living in Virginia and Florida, McKibbin stayed in Panama for roughly a year before moving to Stowe in 2017, according to his attorney, Robert Kaplan. McKibbin then came to Vermont with his wife of 15 years and his teenage son.

McKibbin had been working as a sales manager at Berlin City Kia up until his arrest. Berlin City did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment about McKibbin’s employment status, or how he got the job in the first place.

Carolyn McKibbin testified in court Wednesday that her husband was a responsible, affectionate man. Carolyn said she’s a stay at home mom, while her husband handles the finances.

“He’s home every night, family dinners — we’re a family,” she said.

When asked what the family was doing in Panama, Carolyn said that they were living off of their savings. She claimed that they then moved to Vermont for their son, and because they had enjoyed skiing in Stowe during previous trips.

According to Carolyn, the family had gone to Mexico in March. They had no issue with customs agents at the border, making her believe her husband still had a valid passport. The family was stopped while returning to Vermont on Tuesday, however, after a Father’s Day dinner in Montreal.

“Yesterday was just crazy,” she said.

The family was stopped by Vermont State Police Trooper Nathaniel Quealy, who wrote in the affidavit that he was alerted to William McKibbin’s presence by border officials at the Highgate Springs Port of Entry.

Quealey then spoke to a special agent with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, who said that Michigan would extradite McKibbin and that the state considered him a flight risk.

Kaplan, McKibbin’s lawyer, argued that the arrest warrant was too unspecific to deem McKibbin a fugitive from justice. Rainville agreed, and a final decision is scheduled for next week.

Filed under:Crime and Justice A. Gregory Rainville, auto loan fraud, extradition, Vermont State Police, William McKibbinAbout Iris

Iris Lewis is a summer 2019 intern at VTDigger. She is a rising junior at Harvard University, where she writes for the student newspaper, the Crimson. She is originally from Underhill, Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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