The Unique Performance saga gets more and more astonishing by the day with information now coming to light that Unique Performance used Texas prison inmates to help build the cars. Cars that some customers paid up to $200,000 for.
Celebrities, star athletes and wealthy business people all paid a North Texas company big money for a one-of-a-kind collectible. But police say they got scammed. The story has rattled so many cages that the Texas Governor and the US Secret service are now paying close attention and the Police now say “Charges are imminent”
Celebrities such as Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, the managing partner of the Boston Celtics and a royal family member from Bahrain are all victims. There’s even a former Secret Service agent.
“James Bartee protected several U.S. presidents, but now he wonders how he could have protected himself from losing more than $100,000. Bartee gave Unique Performance $106,000 to build a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT 350.”
When Unique Performance could show him no more than a shell of a car, Bartee started to worry. He never got the car he ordered, and he hasn’t seen his money either.
And this is where the investigation took a huge twist. The investigation led detectives to the Texas Prison System.
Unique Performance used inmates to build the cars. “At least 17 felons convicted of crimes such as aggravated assault, aggravated robbery and murder worked on the cars.” CBS11tv reported.
Investigators say the inmates illegally removed the VINs from the Unique Performance cars.
“We’re looking at who gave the orders to remove those VIN numbers,” said Harris.
It was revealed that Unique Performance’s president, Douglas Hasty, had a contract with the prison system, where the prisons would work on the cars and receive small payment. Thought no prison guard or official keep watch on the inmates while they worked, in fact other Unique Performance employees were responsible for the inmates, some of whom are convicted felons, murder being among some of their crimes.
It is however worth noting that the Police aren’t looking to charge any inmates, which points the finger at someone higher up, say Douglas Hasty for instance.
“I don’t think the inmates did anything other than follow orders,” Harris said. “As far as criminal charges, we’re not looking at anything against the inmates.”
What’s more astonishing is the work the inmates did was never checked, in fact the inmates were not qualified either. Some just laborers and when paying over $200,00 on a car you want to know that whoever is building it is qualified to do so. It is now with the inmates that blame is being sort for the tampering of VINs, quite fitting really.
Detective Harris also noted that each car contained over 13 gallons of Bondo. “I think the customer out here, one thing that they don’t realize, a large majority of these cars, each car had 13 gallons of Bondo,” said Harris.
Bondo is the brand name for an adhesive putty commonly used to repair auto bodies before they’re painted.
“You would never Bondo a car of this value, so that would be deceitful. That would be fraud,” said Bartee.
Detectives say the inmates used Bondo, fiberglass and parts from Taiwan. And now more charges are being sort “We’re looking at fraud and deception charges,” Harris said.
Douglas Hasty did not comment but his lawyer, Tom Pappas did issue the following statement.
“Every customer that has received a car has ultimately been satisfied with the quality of the car they received. Farmers Branch Police are continuing their witch hunt. They continue to leak false accusations to the press knowing that we have not had an opportunity to have access to the cars to rebut their claims. There were no title issues or criminal problems with the titles and no one has been defrauded. We are eager to address these cases in a court of law, on the record, where people will have to be responsible for their conduct. And I’m referring specifically to the Farmers Branch Police Department.”
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