SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 26, 2012

Former car dealer jailed for thefts

(Continued)

There was no life insurance, Chicoine told the judge, but her late husband had always pointed to the Mercedes S600 and told her to sell that.

So she went to Wright in May 2010.

“He knew I was a widow, and he took advantage of me anyway,” she said in a victim-impact statement.

Chicoine was going to use the proceeds from the sale of the luxury car to buy a Lexus SUV that Wright also had on the lot. Wright convinced her that she should take out a car loan, which she could repay once the Mercedes was sold.

Then, Patten said, Wright sold the Mercedes for $61,000. He never told Chicoine. Instead, he forged her late husband’s signature on the title and pocketed the money.

An Ipswich woman who spotted a Jeep Wrangler on Wright’s lot took out a loan for $23,149, then drove the car off the lot, only to find out a month later that legally, she did not own it.

Once again, Wright had pocketed the money and never paid the original owner of the Jeep, who eventually got the police involved to get his car back.

Wright eventually confessed to the scheme.

His lawyer, Robert Sheketoff, urged Whitehead to impose no more than six months in jail for his client, a sentence that would have made him eligible for parole almost immediately since he’d been held in custody at one point while awaiting trial.

“So, he was robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Sheketoff said. “It’s not a defense. It’s an explanation. He was trying to save a business that was falling apart.”

Sheketoff blamed the economic downturn for Wright’s difficulties.

“This is a tragedy for everybody involved,” Sheketoff said.

Wright also asked to speak. He told Whitehead, “I made a terrible choice. I carry that remorse in my heart every day. I know today these are empty words to Stacey, but I hope someday I can prove that they’re not.”

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