Plea deal proposed in classic car auction casePosted: Updated:
GILBERT, Ariz. -- In 2011, Stanley Torgerson was arrested and indicted on 101 felony counts of theft and fraudulent schemes. The charges stem from two businesses he used to run, International Classic Auctions and Arizona Connection.
3 On Your Side began investigating the companies back in 2009 when customers like Robert Maggianetti started complaining.
Maggianetti said he turned over his classic BMW to Torgerson to sell but never received his money.
“It's not brain surgery, it absolutely isn't,” he said. “I just want what's entitled to me.”
Other consumers have had similar complaints.
Sally McCarthy, a car enthusiast from London, said she paid Torgerson $18,000 for a 1964 Mustang. She said Torgerson was supposed to ship it to her but never did.
“So he has my money. I don't have the car,” McCarthy said. “It's very disappointing. It’s quite stressful and it's extremely annoying!”
But the indictment filed in May 2011 reveals McCarthy was just one of 50 people allegedly defrauded by Torgerson.
In a news release at the time, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office indicated Torgerson could possibly face the rest of his life in prison over the charges if convicted on all counts and sentenced to consecutive aggravated terms.
But 3 On Your Side has obtained a plea deal in the works that could land Torgerson in prison for as little as 2 years; 8.75 years at the most. The plea bargain would allow Torgerson to plead guilty to just four out of the 101 felonies he's charged with and the rest of the charges would be dropped. He'd also have to pay back customers.
Some of the victims have emailed 3 On Your Side to respond to the proposed plea deal.
One woman writes, "There is no amount of money or jail time that can repair the ongoing emotional suffering and depression, nor will it give us back the time and energy spent in the ongoing struggle to recover from the losses that this heartless and greedy man has put us through.“
Another victim tells 3 On Your Side he's happy to see Torgerson possibly do time but adds, “We are extremely disappointed in the prosecuting attorney’s plea deal. Most of the counts were dropped which opens the door for leniency from the judge... As for restitution, the victims will never see a dime," he said.
When 3 On Your Side spoke with Torgerson by phone Tuesday, he maintained he is the victim of fraud. He sent us this statement verbatim:
"I was in business for 21 years and served hundard's of the same customers for years with a good business record and i am all so a victim of fraud by inployes and have the documents to prove it i think the people and the victoms well be surpriced to no the fact's and truth in stead of emotions and i am going to trial to prove it if there is found to be any rong doing on my part i am ready to do a settelment i apoligize to my freinds and long time customers for these problems and thank you for your years of business."
Torgerson has until Dec. 6 to accept of reject the offer.
3 On Your Side will continue to follow the case.