Build-A-Bandit absconds with car owners deposits

Build-A-Bandit owner, Robert Allen McElreath, took over $2,000,000 in deposits from car owners then didn’t work on their cars. He’s believed to have fled the state.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said June 3 that a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Robert Allen McElreath. The order issued last week told el Bandito to stop taking orders and advance deposits for automobile restoration in North Carolina.

“Promising consumers a custom car, taking their money and then leaving them high and dry is no way to do business,” Cooper said. “We want to stop bandits from making off with people’s money.”

The business name is a reference to the 1977 movie “Smokey and the Bandit,” which featured the Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds. Other pseudonyms are Pick a Pony, Pontiac Pros, Common Man Classic Hot Rods and Discount Automotive Classic Reconstruction, Cooper said.

Since June 2012, the Attorney General’s Office has received 52 written complaints from people from as far away as Australia. There have been 26 warrants have been issued against McElreath for obtaining property by false pretenses.

The complaint filed by Cooper’s office lists Erica Kampert as an accomplice. The scam, per the AG, is that McElreath advertised “Smokey and the Bandit” cars on Internet auction sites. Bidders who lost got a call from McElreath offering them a car at a discounted price, Cooper said. Then the duped consumer executed a contract and wired thousands of dollars before work began, according to the AG complaint said.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ordered McElreath to appear in court June 10. He did not appear at the hearing last week when the temporary restraining order was issued.

ADVICE: When you’ve been scammed, don’t expect to get your money back. So do some serious investigating and reference checks before you drop money on projects or investments.

Call Kirk Sanders, Attorney, for your business, contracts, and collection needs. 336-724-4707