HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Dec. 6, 2002) — A former manager of a Goodyear commercial tire outlet in Hollywood faces federal charges of money laundering and mail fraud in an alleged scheme investigators say cost the tire maker $1.2 million.
William L. Davis, 34, had managed a Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems L.L.C. store in Hollywood, Fla., from May 2001 to May 29, 2002, when he was fired, according to the FBI's Miami Division. Fort Smith, Ark.-based Wingfoot is an 80-percent owned Goodyear subsidiary.
According to the criminal complaint signed by Special Agent Brian Szczepanski, Mr. Davis fraudulently obtained tires from Goodyear at a discount then sold the tires at a profit from November 2001 to May 2002. The FBI tracked four accounts at Bank of America that were used to hold the funds, the complaint claims. Two of the accounts were in Mr. Davis's name, and the other two were held by Intercontinental Marketing Co., formed by Mr. Davis.
He allegedly used the money to buy various assets, including a 2002 Porsche Carrera, a 2002 34-foot cabin cruiser and property in Broward County and Key Largo, Fla., the complaint charges.
Mr. Davis was arrested Thanksgiving Day in Hypoluxo, Fla. On Dec. 3, he waived his pretrial detention hearing and remains in federal custody, said FBI spokeswoman and Special Agent Judy Orihuela. If convicted, Mr. Davis faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
The investigation began in May when Goodyear received information that the Hollywood store was selling tires to domestic customers at improper discounts, the complaint said. As part of Goodyear's investigation, Mr. Davis was interviewed May 21, when he reportedly said he had been selling tires to two fictitious international accounts, according to the FBI report. The tires instead were sold to two tire dealerships in Tennessee—Tire Depot located in Nashville and Free Service Tire in Johnson City.
The FBI said Mr. Davis—who received an annual salary of $77,000 and, in 2001, received a bonus of about $15,000—admitted to personally receiving profits on the tires he sold to the two dealerships.
An attorney representing Mr. Davis could not be immediately reached for comment.
A Goodyear spokesman declined to comment.
Wingfoot was established in November 2000 in a joint venture between Treadco Inc., Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers and the commercial division of Goodyear's Brad Ragan Inc. operation. The subsidiary operates more than 170 locations across the country.