Unlicensed car dealers won’t be prosecuted

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. --Lamonte Gray and Geno White walked out of court Wednesday after prosecutors decided not to move forward with a case against them.

White even smiled and pointed at our camera.

Also, despite calling WREG recently to boast about the charges possibly being dropped, Gray didn't want to talk.

WREG tried speaking with Gray as he walked out.

"You don`t have anything to say to us?"

Gray replied, "No comment."

Gray and White are unlicensed car dealers.

They post vehicles online, and for years customers have complained about turning over cash, but then getting cars without good titles.

State regulators fined Gray and another man, Andrew Collins, $90,000 for operating as unlicensed dealers last year.

Late last year, the two were hit with theft, forgery and other charges related to selling cars and not telling customers they had salvage titles.

But, Gray's lawyer Mark Mesler says he proved that wasn't true.

"Once we showed them that they had clear title, the state realized they were never going to be able to prove this case, the criminal charges, and so they agreed, after we made some negotiations, to nolle pros the case without costs."

However, WREG uncovered vehicle history reports showing the cars branded with salvage titles.

Customers continue to complain about bad car deals, despite pending criminal case

"Again, if it was, it would have predated certainly my client," explained Mesler.

Also, as part of the deal, Gray and White paid one of the alleged victims her money back.

However, the other one, Angel Shotwell, hasn't gotten her money.

Shotwell says bargaining between attorneys apparently involved her giving the car back, but she says the car doesn't work, she doesn't have it, and wouldn't have agreed to that.

"I`m angry because the city failed me. Everybody failed me," said Shotwell.

Mesler told WREG, "I wish I had something comforting to say to Ms. Shotwell, I certainly understand that if she feels like she`s been cheated, she`s frustrated, but the issue in this courtroom is did my client commit a crime."

While Mesler says he proved Gray didn't commit a crime, Shotwell says she's worried his client's sales practices will continue, but, she says, so too will her quest to expose it.

"It won`t stop here, Lamonte and Geno will not get away."

WREG reached out to the District Attorney's office to get more details about its review of the case.

Here's a statement from spokesperson Larry Buser.

"We had to nolle pros the charges because based on all of the facts and circumstances we did not have a case that we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  This came after a thorough review by several different prosecutors. We had hoped we could get her money back, but when the defendant refused to pay restitution there was nothing we could do to force him to pay."

WREG specifically asked the DA's office if it had run a title history on the vehicles involved and Buser said by email,  "We are not an investigating agency. We prosecute cases that law enforcement brings to us."

Shotwell did win a civil judgment against Gray, but has yet to collect.


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