Customers Buy Cars, But Lose Identities

Former finance manager for Lewisville car dealer accused of ID theft

A former finance manager for a Lewisville car dealership is accused of ripping off customers’ identities, signing up for credit cards in their names and charging thousands of dollars.

Curtis Hegeman, 30, of Lewisville, was arrested last week on identity-theft charges. He worked at Huffines Chevrolet until he was fired in late March, police said.

Customer Willard Bowman said he and his wife bought a 2009 Silverado in February and thought they got a good deal. 

"The truck is very nice,” Bowman said. “I enjoy it."

The couple remembers finalizing the deal with Hegeman.

"I didn't have any doubts,” Bowman said. “He had a picture of his daughter on his desk, and we commented about how pretty his daughter was. He seemed like a nice person, he really did."

Everything was fine, until a few weeks later, when the Bowmans got a credit card bill from Huffines Chevrolet for $3,000.

"(I was) fit to be tied," Bowman said. "If you got a statement for $3,000 that you're not responsible for, how would you be?"

The Bowmans said they don’t use credit cards and never signed up for that one.

Hegeman is accused of stealing a dozen customers' identities, including the Bowmans, pocketing their cash down payments and setting up bogus credit cards to cover his tracks, police said.

He was arrested in Wisconsin, where police said he fled after the dealership fired him in late March. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

"It's a little bit different," Lewisville police Capt. Kevin Deaver said. "Normally, we don't see someone who is established at a business like that do things like that, although it does occur. But generally, these people do get caught, because there's a paper trail that connects them back to the offense."

The credit card companies adjusted the victims’ bills so they owe nothing, but the dealership lost $40,000, police said.

Huffines’ managers did not return calls seeking comment.

"It was unbelievable, because he seemed like such a nice person," Bowman said. "And I don't know how in the world he expected to get away with this."

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