LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) –Investigator Shannon Behnken finally tracked down the Largo businessman arrested this week and accused of a scheme to defraud.
Jeremy Raney was the subject an Better Call Behnken investigation that helped the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office build a fraud case.
Raney had only one word when he opened the door to find our 8 On Your Side camera: “Whoa.”
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Raney, 39, for scheming to defraud. Raney ran RV Consignment in Largo, after taking it over from his father last July. It was around that time that investigators say he sold at least five customers’ RVs and then failed to pay off their RV loans.
In some cases, investigators believe Raney collected more cash from the victims to help pay off their loans, but instead kept the money for himself. The sheriff’s office estimates that the victims lost at least $186,000.
Raney’s out of jail now. He was released on a $50,000 bond.
His arrest comes months after an 8 On Your Side investigation uncovered questionable business practices and prompted a criminal investigation.
“It was with the cooperation of your newscast that we were able to develop victims,” said Jon Spoor, of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The lot, at 9525 Ulmerton Rd., is mostly bare, and many customers were able to pick up their RVs before the shop closed its doors in December. The state Department of Motor Vehicles tells 8 On Your Side that Raney surrendered his business license amid their own investigation.
Numerous customers are left without tens of thousands of dollars – money for their RVs that had already been sold via consignment.
“I’m still making monthly payments on an RV that I don’t own,” said Lornora Lundy.
Lundy turned to 8 On Your Side’s Better Call Behnken in October. She and her late husband contracted with the company to sell their RV last June because Mr. Lundy was terminally ill. The RV sold in July and the Lundy’s loan was supposed to be paid off by the company, but it wasn’t.
Lundy’s husband passed away and now she is stuck with an $18,000 loan on an RV someone else purchased months ago.
“If he doesn’t pay everybody back, he needs to sit in jail and think about it, hard and long, what he did to people,” Lundy said.
When contacted by 8 On Your Side in October about Lundy’s loan, Consignment RV owner Jeremy Raney insisted her situation was a mixup and that an check for $18,000 had already been mailed out, but it never arrived.
“He lied,” Lundy said. “I don’t think he ever sent that check out.”
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