Seventy-five felony counts with alleged victims a teacher, firefighters, a local mayor and many other Tipton County residents.
That’s what Marty McDivitt now faces after the District Attorney General’s Office released its list of charges on Wednesday afternoon against the well-known owner of McDivitt Motors in Covington.
McDivitt, 52, was arrested Tuesday night and released on a combined $250,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Tipton County Circuit on Monday.
The majority of the charges are for theft ranging between $2,500 and $60,000.
One is for theft of $250,000 or more in which he is alleged to have “obtained over $250,000 from the Bank of Ripley without its effective consent.”
Other charges include multiple counts of worthless checks, criminal simulation, forgery, sales tax fraud and impersonation of a licensed professional, in which he’s alleged to have pretended to be an EMT.
In a two-count criminal simulation charge, officials allege he altered a federal tax return with intent to defraud InSouth Bank.
Multiple counts allege he fraudulently “exercised control” over vehicles of his customers.
State Farm Bank, Ally Financial, USAA Federal Savings Bank, West Tennessee Credit Union, Bank of Tipton and Bank of Ripley are all named as victims.
District Attorney General Mark E. Davidson said, “These indictments will serve notice on unscrupulous business owners who prey on trusting, hard working, innocent members of our communities: You will be found out, charged, and held accountable for predatory criminal conduct. We commend the Tennessee Department of Revenue and the Tennessee Highway Patrol CID for their exhaustive investigative work, and the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office and the Covington Police Department for their assistance and cooperation in this important case. We also commend Tipton County Clerk Mary Gaither and her staff for their dedicated work assisting the numerous victims of these offenses. Wherever theft and fraud occurs in the 25th Judicial District, this office and our colleagues will be prepared to hold offenders accountable and assist victims of crime.”
On March 20 McDivitt was arrested on a warrant from the Columbia (Ill.) Police Department and charged with theft by deception ($10,000 to $100,000) and deceptive practice. Both are felonies.
Those charges were ultimately dismissed.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order from the Circuit Court of Tipton County against McDivitt Motors and McDivitt.
In granting the TRO, Chancellor William Cole found that McDivitt Motors has engaged in practices that violate the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and that immediate harm would result unless the court intervened. The TRO also orders an asset freeze, receivership and accounting against McDivitt Motors.
The state’s Civil Enforcement Complaint against McDivitt Motors, filed at the same time as the motion for a TRO, alleges that the defendant deceived customers by claiming McDivitt Motors was licensed to sell new vehicles, which it was not, and misrepresented used vehicles as new, among other things. Defendants also failed to disclose to customers that vehicles they traded in would not be paid off, as was the understanding between the parties.
The state also alleges the defendants acted unlawfully by writing checks to purchase new vehicles when bank account balances were negative and transferring large sums of money between a business checking account and a personal checking account, both ultimately under McDivitt’s control and supervision.
McDivitt is well-known in the community. He has owned McDivitt Motors, located on Highway 51 near Mueller Brass Road, for many years and has been a prominent booster of the Covington High School football team.