EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Business Partner Claims Runaway Prius Driver A "Scammer"

Since reporting the questionable past of runaway Toyota Prius driver James Sikes there's been a deluge of tips coming in about his character, including the following from a former business partner who alleges Sikes stole from their company.

William Sweet says he went into business with Sikes, together opening up a paralegal services company called "AAA California Aid" in 1997. Sweet operated the main office and Sikes ran one in Los Banos, California. Sweet alleges numerous incidents of fraud and theft involving Sikes led him to dissolve their partnership, including an incident in which Sikes sent an employee to break into the main office to steal payment records.

"I had him on video where he would have one of his employees from the Los Banos office go through our files and he would pull out cases that have balances on them and he would go collect the money," said Sweet, now sole owner of the company operating under a new name. "He would take the money over in Los Banos."

Disagreement over the business finances wasn't the only issue Sweet had with Sikes as he echoed reports of mysterious thefts involving Sikes and claims his former partner stole office supplies.

"We'd buy paper for the office ten reams at a time, and within two weeks he'd be totally out. According to the cameras he was hauling boxes out three-or-four at a time. He was feeding his other two offices."

Jim Sikes apparently was displeased with Sweet over the installation of a security system and security cameras, but since Sweet ran the office there was nothing Sikes could do.

Given his past with Sikes, Sweet was not surprised regarding the scrutiny over Sikes' background. He claims to have not had contact with his former partner since 1999 and was immediately skeptical when he saw Sikes on television.

"As soon as i heard the words "Jim Sikes" I immediately woke up out of a dead sleep and thought "uh oh what the hell is this guy up to now?" He's trying to do a scam, and get in on that lawsuit for the Toyota thing, that's immediately what i thought."

We sought comment from Sikes' representatives on his former relationship with Mr. Sweet but they have yet to return our calls amid growing scrutiny over the "technical details" of his claims.