A used-car salesman from Little Canada who allegedly sold defective vehicles to unwitting customers -- often immigrants with limited English proficiency -- has been charged with five counts of theft by swindle and one of receiving stolen property.
Vahid Sedaghat, 52, would become physically aggressive and hostile when buyers complained that their vehicles broke down shortly after the sales, said the criminal complaint filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court.
"If they don't understand English, they should go back to their own country," Sedaghat told police, the complaint said.
According to the complaint:
• On Nov. 5, 2005, Sedaghat sold what he purported to be a 1996 Toyota for $4,500. The buyer returned it four days later after learning it had serious mechanical problems. Sedaghat argued that the car wasn't under warranty and charged the buyer $2,000 to repair it. The buyer also learned that the car was a 1993 model, not the 1996 model advertised.
• On Sept. 8, 2006, another buyer agreed to buy a 1997 VW Passat for $3,000. The sale included a 30-day/1,000 mile warranty, but when the car's transmission malfunctioned, Sedaghat never responded to the buyer's repeated requests for a refund or a replacement.
• On Sept. 16, 2006, two people put down a $100 deposit on a 1995 Nissan Altima and agreed to buy it contingent on a mechanical inspection. When the buyers backed out, Sedaghat became enraged and called the buyers "stupid Africans," the complaint said. The deposit was never returned.
• On Oct. 13, 2006, another dealer placed a 1996 Toyota for sale next to vehicles being sold by Sedaghat. Three days later, the Toyota was missing. In December, police arrested Sedaghat on an outstanding warrant for disorderly conduct and found a vehicle ID number for the Toyota on a tag in his pocket. The car was found partly disassembled at Sedaghat's business, Valor Enterprises. The car's rightful owner had to pay several thousand dollars to have it repaired.
• On Dec. 20, 2006, another buyer bought a 2001 Honda Civic at Valor Enterprises for $6,402. Less than a week later, the car was deemed unsafe to drive because of structural problems, but Sedaghat refused to make any refunds. Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551