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AUTO DEALER PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK FRAUD CHARGES

 AUTO DEALER PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK FRAUD CHARGES
 BOSTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A Framingham man appeared in federal court today and pleaded guilty to a federal indictment which charged him with undertaking a scheme to defraud Rockland Federal Credit Union.
 U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Budd announced that Stephen P. Mantenuto, 35, of 563 Grove Street in Framingham appeared before Judge Mark Wolf to plead guilty to the charges against him. A federal prosecutor told Judge Wolf that if the case had gone to trial the government would have introduced evidence to prove that beginning in 1988 Mantenuto was the president and owner of Ideal Cars, Inc., located in Whitman, Massachusetts. Ideal was in the business o selling used cars to the public. As part of that business, Mantenuto would purchase vehicles that had been totalled in accidents, repair the vehicles, and offer them for resale. In 1989, Ideal entered a financing arrangement with Rockland Federal Credit Union under which Ideal would pledge to Rockland the titles of the vehicles which it had purchased, and Rockland would advance monies to Ideal. The advance was to be repaid when the vehicle was sold by Rockland.
 The prosecutor stated that on numerous occasions Mantenuto fraudulently obtained duplicate titles from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. With the duplicate titles Mantenuto was able to sell the vehicles without retrieving the original title from Rockland. Thus, Mantenuto was able to sell the vehicle without repaying the advances from Rockland. On other occasions Mantenuto would pledge titles to Rockland for vehicles which were not owned by him. In total, Ideal is indebted to Rockland in an amount in excess of $300,000.
 Judge Wolf set sentencing for April 1, 1992. Mantenuto faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1 million.
 This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Boston Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Lon F. Povich of Budd's Economic Crimes Division.
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Press Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, 617-223-9445/


EG -- NE011 -- 7905 02/07/92 16:03 EST
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Date:Feb 7, 1992
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