'Dead' man comes calling after 3 On Your Side reportPosted: Updated:
GILBERT, Ariz. - Stanley Torgerson runs a car auction named Arizona Connection out of his Gilbert home.
He acts mainly as the middle man between buyers and sellers.
Torgerson sat down with 3 On Your Side two years ago after we began looking into another one of his companies, International Classic Auctions, or ICA Auctions.
Since then, other customers have come forward claiming they too have been ripped off by Torgerson, customers like Sally McCarthy, a classic car enthusiast from London.
She talked to us on Skype.
“I wanted to have a car that I could drive everyday that I could take to car rallies,” she said.
So, Sally bought a green 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang she saw on one of Torgerson's websites for $18,000 in June of 2010.
Nearly a year later, still no car and Sally says Stanley Torgerson keeps giving her excuses when she asks for her money back.
“It's very disappointing,” she said. “It’s quite stressful, and it's extremely annoying!”
3 On Your Side asked Torgerson about the car.
He wouldn't speak with us in person, but over the phone told us the owner of the Mustang had died.
“The guy that consigned the car had a heart problem and he didn't make it. So, instead of getting the car when we sold it, it's through the estate deal and that's where the d*** hold-up comes,” Torgerson said in a recorded phone conversation.
Torgerson went on to tell us the daughters of the Mustang's owner were fighting over his estate, which included the car.
But just days after 3 On Your Side first aired Sally's story, we received a surprising phone call -- to say the least -- from the man Torgerson said was dead.
“I was stunned when you told me about my death,” William Cain said.
We visited William at his Apache Junction home, and as you can tell, he's not dead at all.
He still owns the now infamous Mustang and even took us for a spin in it.
The car is still for sale.
William says he's done business with Torgerson before but didn’t know anything about Sally buying the car until he watched our report.
“I just don't understand,” William said. “Stanley has my name, he has my number, we've contacted eachother numerous times in the past.”
3 On Your Side tried, again, to speak with Stanley Torgerson.
We saw a man who we believe was Torgerson on his property, but when we tried to speak with him,
neither he nor the woman we saw him with would answer the door.
We called Torgerson but he told us the person we just saw on his property wasn't him and then he hung up.
He then text messaged us, but didn't respond when we replied with this question: "Why did you tell us the owner of the mustang was dead?"
The botton line for Sally is that she’s no closer to getting the car or her money back, but hopes legal action will change that.
The day 3 On Your Side brought you Sally's story, Gilbert police executed a search warrant on Torgerson's Gilbert office as part of a fraud investigation.
Detectives tell us they are in the process of sorting through thousands of documents, and 35 people have come forward claiming they've been ripped off for a half-million dollars total.
The investigation is ongoing, and 3 On Your Side will continue to follow this story.