June 20 – Santa Barbara, Ca.
Working off the cachet of a company name leveraging the fame of one of the nation’s most prestigious neighborhoods, Montecito Motors—a high-end “previously owned” auto dealership in downtown Santa Barbara—shut its doors in December 2010, ostensibly as a result of the widespread economic recession.
The fact was, however, that dealership owners Adam Taylor, 41, and his father Chet Taylor, 71, were under intense scrutiny by the Santa Barbara District Attorney pursuant to multiple criminal complaints by car owners who had consigned their luxury vehicles to the Taylors for marketing purposes. As soon as the Taylors shuttered the business, according to Santa Barbara Police Detective Greg Hons, “nearly two dozen victims who had been ripped off came to us and we filed multiple reports with the DA.”
Over the ensuing year, further investigation continued into the complicated dealings of Mssrs. Taylor, ultimately leading to a 59-count 13-page criminal complaint filed by the District Attorney involving allegations of conspiracy, grand theft, forgery, and felony failure to file federal and state income tax returns. Both father and son were arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on those charges just after Christmas Day, 2011.
On June 14th, 2012, Chet and Adam Taylor stood before Superior Court Judge Clifford Anderson and entered pleas of no contest to 46 felony charges of conspiracy, grand theft, and tax evasion. According to courtroom statements by Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota, “the totality of these fraudulent acts involved the theft of more than one million dollars as well as unpaid taxes upwards of five million.”
After hearing from a number of the Taylors’ victims present in the courtroom, Judge Anderson sentenced Adam Taylor to 11 years in state prison and the elder Chet Taylor to 13 years in prison, as well as the payment of total cash restitution to their victims amounting to $1.2 million.
Both father and son were led from the courtroom in shackles by uniformed bailiffs for processing into the California Department of Corrections.
Photos: courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
Santa Barbara Independent: Judge Orders Montecito Motors Owners to Prison and to Pay Millions