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Detectives Seek More Victims in Suspected Fresno Car Sales Scam

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The general manager of Artanis Automotive, which is at 5494 E. Lamona Ave in Fresno, allegedly ran a car sales scam until busted by HEAT. (Fresno County SO)
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Sheriff’s detectives are hoping that victims of a felon alleged to have run a car sales scam in Fresno will step forward and contact them.

Christopher Asher Booking Photo

Christopher Michael Asher (Fresno County SO)

Members of the Help Eliminate Auto Theft Task Force arrested Christoper Michael Asher, 56, of Fresno on March 30 on auto theft and forgery charges.

At that time, Asher portrayed himself as the general manager of Artanis Automotive, which is at 5494 E. Lamona Ave, detectives said.

In one example, according to a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office news release, Asher accepted a $12,000 down payment from a customer for a car the dealership didn’t own. Asher obtained the car from a Huntington Beach dealership by writing a $58,000 check that bounced, detectives said.

As a felon, Asher wasn’t entitled to a dealer/broker license. Instead, he is alleged to have forged documents and used the personal identity information of someone with a clean record.

Following his arrest, Asher made bail and awaits a May 19 court date.

“We in law enforcement want to inform the public of Asher’s illegal activity because there is a good chance there are more victims out there who have dealt with Asher and do not realize they have been taken advantage of or never filed a police report,” sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said.

Botti also said that detectives have located more victims and investigations into their cases are proceeding.

Contact Information

If you or someone you know is a potential victim, contact the sheriff’s office at (559) 600-3111 or Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867. Reference HEAT/CHP case number F146-412-23.

The HEAT Task Force is composed of members from the California Highway Patrol, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Clovis Police
Department.

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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