BANGOR, Maine — The owner of a local used car dealership is scheduled to plead no contest Thursday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to 28 of 84 counts of using counterfeit inspection stickers, according to the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.
Glenn Geiser, 48, of Brewer, owner of My Maine Ride, is not expected to attend. The plea will be entered by his defense attorneys Joseph Baldacci and Eugene Sullivan, both of Bangor.
Baldacci is out of the country this week with his family during school vacation week, according to personnel in his office. Efforts to reach Sullivan on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Geiser will pay a fine totaling $7,000, or, $250 per count, plus fees and surcharges, Assistant District Attorney Tracy Collins Lacher said Tuesday in an email. The other charges will be dismissed.
The Maine secretary of state’s office is still seeking to have Geiser’s license to sell cars suspended.
A vehicle purchased from My Maine Ride in August 2013 that had an inspection sticker but was deemed defective by Maine State Police investigators led to charges against Geiser.
Geiser’s license to inspect vehicles was under suspension when he illegally purchased inspection stickers from an auto shop in Winterport and put them on defective cars he sold at his dealership, a state police investigator said last week.
“One of my inspectors looked at that vehicle and agreed it should not have passed inspection,” said Sgt. Bruce G. Scott of the Maine State Police’s motor vehicle inspection unit, explaining why the used car dealer’s license to issue inspection stickers was originally suspended. “You can’t put a vehicle inspection sticker on a defective vehicle.”
Geiser and the dealership he owns in Bangor both were issued a one-month suspension from issuing inspection stickers on Aug. 13. During the suspension, police discovered Geiser’s dealership continued to inspect vehicles on its lot.
Use of a counterfeit certificate of inspection is a Class E crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Geiser is expected to attend a hearing Feb. 26 at the Department of Motor Vehicles branch in the Airport Mall in Bangor to determine if his license to sell cars should be suspended. He is opposing the suspension.
The hearing, which was to be held last week, was continued so Baldacci could review all the materials on which hearing officer Joanne Baumrind is expected to base her decision.
In addition, Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced on Feb. 7 that her office had sued Geiser in Penobscot County Superior Court for unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with the promotion and sale of used cars.
The complaint, filed Jan. 31, alleged that Geiser and his dealerships, Bangor Car Care Inc., Bumper2Bumper Inc. and My Maine Ride, targeted consumers with poor credit who needed financing, pressured them to buy cars that were not roadworthy and did not respond to customer complaints.
The Consumer Protection Division of Mills’ office received 86 complaints in the last 13 months about My Maine Ride, 159 complaints about Bumper2Bumper since 2011, and 539 complaints about Bangor Car Care since 2003, according to a previously published report.
The state is seeking civil penalties, which could run as high as $10,000 for each violation; a permanent injunction to bar Geiser and any entity in which he has an ownership interest from promoting, selling and/or financing used cars; and reimbursement of the cost of the litigation, including attorney and expert witness fees.
It is not the first time Geiser has been in legal trouble for his practices. In November 1996, one of Geiser’s former companies, Wilson Street Automotive in Brewer, agreed to pay $14,919 in civil penalties and attorney fees, according to the attorney general’s office.
For information on making a consumer complaint concerning the purchase of a vehicle, visit http://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/motor_vehicles/index.shtml or call 626-8800.