ST. JOHNS, Mich. – A former auctioneer from Tennessee has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation on a larceny charge in connection with a powersports auction he ran for several years.
John Vincent Trotter, former owner of National Public Auction, My Auction Connection (MAC) and The Auction Connection, was remanded to Clinton County Jail after a sentencing hearing Jan. 27 and was not available for comment. He pleaded no contest Nov. 15 to the charge of larceny in a building. Prior to the plea, he had been charged in Clinton County Circuit Court in Michigan with larceny and obtaining by false pretenses, which carry much stiffer penalties.
Trotter was sentenced to 90 days in jail minus a day for time served; 60 months probation; and ordered to pay $1,000 in court costs, state minimum costs of $68 and $130 for crime victim assistance, according to the Clinton County court clerk.
Trotter was not required to pay restitution. The judge overseeing his bankruptcy in Tennessee ruled that a prosecution that allowed for restitution instead of jail time was an action to collect debts the bankruptcy court had already discharged and was not allowed.
The charges stemmed from auctions in 2011 in which Trotter sold vehicles for Woody’s Cycle Sales of Tawas and US 27 Motorsports of St. Johns. The original larceny charge accused Trotter of ‘converting to his own use” motorcycles and ATVs consigned by Fred Grove, owner of US 27 Motorsports.
The investigation began after Grove sent vehicles to a Trotter auction in January 2011. Like many other dealers, his vehicles brought much less than their value at the auction, so he went to the Michigan State Police, which began an investigation the following March.
“The Michigan State Police is satisfied with the outcome,” said Det. Sgt. Kyle McPhee, a lead investigator on the case. “We wish we could have done more for the many victims across the country, but hopefully this sets a standard for other agencies to pursue actions” against auction fraud.
Because of the Michigan conviction, dealers who lost money as a result of sending their vehicles to a Trotter auction may be able to make insurance claims, depending on their insurers and policies. The case is Clinton County Circuit Court #13-009147FH.
Trotter and others were charged with theft by deception and theft by conversion in Glynn County, Ga., in 2011, but those charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
Although Trotter filed bankruptcy in 2011, some of his former business associates have continued in the powersports auction business in Poplar Bluff, Mo. That business has gone under the names Midwest Public Auction, Extreme Live Auction, Equipment Plus, Recreational Complete, Recreational Auction Services and, most recently, Auction Pro Liquidators in Indianapolis, Auction Pro Services in Minneapolis and Auction Star Services in Denver. All three companies’ auctions are held in Poplar Bluff. The Missouri Attorney General’s office is investigating Midwest Public Auction.