Why a struggling business led to felony charges for a Bellefonte car salesman

A Jabco Auto Sales car salesman said he withheld more than $70,000 from several consignment sales because his business was in financial stress, according to state police at Lewistown.

Police received a call in April from a man who spoke to John Jabco about selling his 2008 Chevrolet truck under a consignment sale. The man allegedly told Jabco he “wanted out from the payments” and any amount over $25,600 that it was sold for would be his to keep.

The truck was eventually sold to a Williamsburg man for $28,000, though he said Jabco never told him the truck was being sold under a consignment sale.

An Eagle Automotive fleet director also contacted police in April and said Jabco, a 77-year-old from Bellefonte, sold a 2016 Nissan Altima and a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica that belonged to the business, but failed to pay any funds from the sales.

A trooper also found no hard copies of the transactions were included within the vehicles’ title histories.

“This was presumably due to the fact that Jabco Auto Sales is a PennDOT online service, however, they had failed to submit the hard copies of transaction as required,” police said.

In an October interview with police, Jabco allegedly said he kept the money because he lost financing for the dealership’s floor plan after his bank changed ownership.

He also said he kept the money because he didn’t have money to pay his employees, so he used the money from the consignment sales to pay them.

Jabco also told police he was in the process of closing the dealership and “shutting down is a big business that takes money.”

Jabco was charged with three felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, three felony counts of theft by deception, three misdemeanors and 15 summary charges.

He was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who set bail at $250,000 unsecured.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.