Ex-car dealership owner pleads guilty to bank fraud

Photo by Shawn Wheat

Photo by Shawn Wheat

ATLANTA -- A Duluth resident and former car dealership owner pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to information from the United States Attorney's Office, Philip Swindall, 50, was involved in multiple schemes during his 10 years selling cars in the metro Atlanta area. In 2004, Swindall was operating Atlanta Chrysler Dodge when he applied for and received an $8.2-million loan. By the summer of 2005, bank auditors showed that Swindall was more than $3.5 million in debt.

"Swindall claimed that most of the debts were due to slow payments from a fleet customer," officials said.

According to the court, Swindall in fact used the money to operate another dealership, pay off credit cards and maintain a high-end lifestyle.

In 2009, Swindall opened a dealership called Auto Tailer Inc. in Duluth. Over the next year, he purchased more than 30 cars from other dealers, either on consignment or by bouncing checks. He reportedly sold the cars on eBay, never provided customers with titles to the cars, never paid the other dealers and pocketed approximately $490,000.

Swindall is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 21.