If you visited Apollon Nimo at his Detroit-based Parkway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealership, you might have walked out with a damn good deal. In fact, your deal might have been too good to be true. That’s because Nimo was illegally using employee discounts to cut customers good deals, even when those customers failed to qualify for that discount, Auto News reports. In fact, he scammed FCA—now Stellantis—out of about $8.7 million.
In many cases, Nimo nabbed the discount codes from various Facebook groups of which he was part. Here’s more from the article:
In the majority of transactions that prosecutors allege were fraudulent, buyers claimed to be the brother-in-law or sister-in-law of an FCA employee to get a 5 percent discount. The discount codes, known as Employee Purchase Control Numbers (EPCNs), were often bought and sold through private Facebook groups.
Nimo frequently topped the list of auto sellers who sold cars using employee discounts and was handsomely rewarded for being a top salesman. He reportedly received $700,000 in bonuses directly from FCA since 2014, when he first started using his codes—and that’s in addition to dealership-specific rewards.
Out of the 268 unauthorized EPCNs that have been analyzed, every single one was linked back to Nimo. And there could honestly be more, as per FOX 2 Detroit:
A manager at Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram told federal investigators that Nimo sold about 250 cars in January 2020. The same manager said Nimo sells more vehicles than entire sales departments at most FCA dealerships.
So, how did Nimo get away with it for so long? One man who leased three cars from Nimo in December of 2018 stated that Nimo claimed FCA doesn’t review the use of ‘in-law’ relationships with EPCN purchases. So, you could claim to be the mother-, sister-, father-, or son-in-law of an FCA employee, and FCA would be less likely to catch it—possibly because it’s not as intuitive to identify relationships with people who don’t share blood or direct legal ties.
The investigation kicked off after several FCA employees complained that their personal discount codes were being used without their consent. This is where that 268 number comes from; these were just from people who complained. It’s possible many other people had no idea their EPCN was being used.