FBI Launches Probe into Massive Fraud Scheme

(BrightPress.org) – A family-operated business in Florida that bought and sold classic cars, hot rods, and other roadsters is being scrutinized by police and federal authorities after declaring bankruptcy revealed multiple complaints from customers and clients. Stephen Phelps is the primary owner of FSD Hot Rod Ranch, a now-defunct specialty car dealership. The company was additionally run by his son and daughter; FSD stands for father-son-daughter.

Phelps filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December last year, listing nearly 100 outstanding debts totaling over $4 million. In a recent discussion of the matter over Zoom, Phelps apologized to everyone saying had extreme regret for the loss of investments, but reported the business couldn’t sustain itself financially.

The company ostensibly bought and sold classic cars and hot rods. However, many people who either sold their car to FSD or bought a car from them failed to receive payment for the vehicle, never received a title, or got a title that was fraudulent upon inspection.

In the Zoom call Brett Pace, who resides in Utah, asked Phelps about $28,000 that he was still owed for the 2022 sale of a 1972 GMC Half Time which Phelps took possession of and was shipped to his dealership in Florida. Phelps should have paid out Pace within 90 days of the sale but failed to do so.

Debra Meyers said she and her late boyfriend purchased a 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton replica from FSD for $25,000. Shortly thereafter, her boyfriend/fiancé died and Meyers realized she never received the title for the vehicle. Without the title, she can’t drive or sell the car, but she’s still paying $425/month on the loan used to buy it. Under Florida state law, it’s illegal to sell a vehicle without possession of the title.

Meyers and Pace represent a sample of the over a dozen legal complaints filed against FSD for failures like these. Phelps even owes an electrician $8,300 for work he performed on the facility which he said was unlikely to ever be paid during the Zoom meeting.

Phelps has mortgaged his $1 million, 10-acre property and is currently renting it out to an event company called Pegasus Manor. He’s yet to take any payments from Pegasus Manor and owner Beth Sabol seems to be involved in a personal relationship with Phelps, complicating the matter. Local police and the FBI have opened ongoing investigations into the matter.

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