A Savage-based car dealer with a history of convictions related to his business is now on probation after being convicted of submitting false information in order to cheat the state out of sales tax revenue in 2015.
Prior Lake resident Eric Elijah Aaron, 62, pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court on Aug. 24 to one felony count of false information on a title. A second count of false information on a title was dismissed, as was a felony count of submitting a fraudulent motor vehicle excise tax certificate.
On Dec. 19, Judge Christian Wilton sentenced Aaron to three years of probation and 30 days in jail, though Aaron can avoid spending time incarcerated if he pays restitution prior to his report date, which is May 1. Aaron owes $609.61 in restitution, in addition to court fees.
According to the criminal complaint, State Patrol troopers went to Aaron’s business, Auto Unlimited Minnesota, on May 13, 2015 to perform a dealer inspection, as the business is a dealership registered with the Department of Public Safety. Auto Unlimited Minnesota is at 7125 126th St. W. in Savage.
During the inspection, a trooper noticed a discrepancy in the price of a vehicle that was sold by Aaron a couple weeks earlier. On the jacket of a folder relating to the sale, the price “$3,793” was written, which appeared to be the total sale price for the vehicle. However, on the purchase agreement the sale price was $2,950, and in the file was transfer paperwork showing the vehicle was transferred to the purchaser with a price of $2,950 and a $10 sales tax being remitted.
Minnesota law states that vehicle models 10 years or older that have a purchase price of under $3,000 are not subject to the 6.5 percent motor vehicle tax, but instead a $10 flat tax. One of the troopers called the purchaser, who stated that she had paid $3,750 for the vehicle, and that the person she purchased the vehicle from had lowered the price on the purchase agreement so she would pay less sales tax. The amount of sales tax paid on a $3,750 purchase should have been $243.75. A review of the title history on the vehicle by the Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) showed that the vehicle was transferred by Auto Unlimited for the price of $2,950.
In reviewing records on another vehicle allegedly sold by Aaron in February 2015, the purchase agreement showed that the buyer paid $2,950 and the application for the title showed the same sales price, and that $10 in sales tax was remitted. A trooper spoke with the buyer, who stated that they had actually paid $4,040 for the vehicle, and didn’t realize that the purchase agreement price was different than what they had actually paid until they got home. The amount of sales tax that should have been paid is $262.60. The title history at the DVS showed that the vehicle was transferred with a purchase price of $2,950 being used as the purchase price.
Since 2005, Aaron been convicted on charges related to auto deals in Minnesota on six occasions. His most recent auto-related conviction was in 2015 for theft (intent to exercise temporary control) in a case in which Aaron bought a car from a client only to have his check bounce. In that case, Aaron did not return the car until police got involved, and when he did, it had 5,000 more miles on it than when he got it, and it was inoperable. Aaron also was convicted in 2015 of theft by false representation in a case in which he tried to sell a restaurant that he did not own.
The Savage Police Department has received numerous complaints from other customers of Aaron’s over the years. Aaron previously operated Recycle Cars Minnesota LLC in the same location, which had a grade of “F” from the Minnesota and North Dakota Better Business Bureau when it closed in 2013. Auto Unlimited Minnesota has a grade of “A+,” though it is not accredited. Aaron used to be listed as the owner of the business, but the owner is now listed as Jarod Aaron.