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Man at center of car auction scheme facing new charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Leandre Barner was supposed to find out Friday whether he’d be headed to prison or get probation after he was convicted in a bogus car scheme, but he left the courtroom without the matter being settled because he’s facing even more trouble.

Barner pleaded guilty to theft late last year after a Texas man gave him nearly $30,000 for six cars supposedly coming from an auction. Barner never delivered the vehicles or the victim’s refund.

Prosecutors in that case asked the judge for a 30-day reset in that case Friday because Barner was arrested again Wednesday, and charged with theft of property. They explained to the judge that a new warrant popped up for an earlier offense.

The reason for Barner’s latest arrest was connected to the story a man shared with police and WREG several months ago.

The man didn’t want to be identified, but he said he paid Barner $1,250 for a white cargo van that turned out to be bogus.

He said he realized he wasn’t going to get the van after about a week or two of going back and forth and getting different stories.

“I contacted the auction to speak with one of the managers and the manager didn’t exist,” he said.

That man also filed a police report, but at the time, didn’t have Barner’s real name.

Memphis Police Department Lt. Tim Goodroe says the alleged victim learned Barner’s identity only after paying to track the money orders he’d used to pay for the van.

“In essence, we did a photo line up, he identified Leandre Barner and a warrant was put out for his arrest,” Goodroe explained.

Barner’s case was reset to March 1.

WREG also found police reports for six other people, filed between 2016 and 2017, who claim they lost thousands to Barner in the same alleged scheme.

WREG spoke with some of those people and two of them said they’d been contacted by the District Attorney’s office.

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