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Monday, February 24, 2014 - 2:45pm
Las Cruces, NM (KDBC) — Las Cruces Police are asking for the help of the El Paso and Las Cruces community to locate a man they suspect swindled the Sisbarro Buick - GMC dealership out of $34,999 over several meetings during late December and January.
LCPD has charged Johnny Ray Mills, 41 of the 12000 block of Edgemere in El Paso with one count of fraud, a second-degree felony. A Magistrate Court in Las Cruces has approved Mills' warrant with a bond set at $50,000.
Police have outlined a complex scam that allegedly began on December 15, 2013 when the General Manager of the Sisbarro Buick-GMC dealership in Las Cruces received a call from a man who claimed to be "Major Powers," from Fort Bliss, who claimed that the base wanted to open a car dealership.
Maj. Powers told the GM that his liaison, a man by the name of Johnny Ray would visit the dealership to iron out the details. Five days later, on December 20, 2013, the man claiming to be Johnny Ray met with Sisbarro personnel and accepted a check for $9,999 for what the dealership believed was a "Ambassador Sponsorship Program" at Fort Bliss.
Sisbarro management met with Ray again on January 3, 2014 at which time, Sisbarro cut Ray a check for $25,000 in order to secure the contract to build the car dealership on Fort Bliss.
Three days later, on January 6, the Sisbarro GM met with Ray at Fort Bliss to discuss possible locations for the dealership on post. After this meeting, the GM became suspicious of certain discrepancies in Ray's stories. The GM contacted officials at Fort Bliss and learned that there was no Major Powers or Johnny Ray associated with the military base.
The Sisbarro GM then contacted LCPD to investigate the case. LCPD were able to learn that Johnny Ray was actually Johnny Ray Mills of El Paso.
Sisbarro has yet to recover the $34,999 paid to Mills over the course of the two week period and LCPD has been unsuccessful in locating Mills.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mills is asked to call Las Cruces Police at (575) 526-0795 or send a tip via email to LCPDTIPS@las-cruces.org.