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Lundy gets three years in prison for auto fraud / September 18, 2019

Russell Ashby Lundy III of South Hill was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday in Mecklenburg County Circuit Court, and he was ordered to repay just over $180,000 in restitution for carrying out a car loan and financing scheme that defrauded hundreds of unsuspecting victims of more than $1 million.

The scheme, which unfolded over a three-year period, involved Lundy accepting trade-in vehicles at his used car dealership in South Hill, vehicles on which the owner owed money. As part of the financing agreement for a new car or truck, Lundy would claim to sell the owner gap insurance and warranty coverage, while promising to pay off the existing loan balances.

The court determined that Lundy never paid off the prior loans and never purchased the warranties or insurance, but would later resell the trade-in vehicles, telling the new buyers there were no liens on them.

Judge Leslie Osborn, who presided at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing in Boydton, imposed a punishment of one year in prison on each of 50 counts against Lundy for obtaining money through false pretenses, and five years on a single count of forgery. Osborn suspended 52 years of the combined sentence, leaving Lundy to serve a three-year active term.

Judge Osborn also ordered Lundy to be of good behavior for 25 years, undergo five years of supervised probation upon his release from prison and repay $183,182.59 in restitution and $11,712 in court costs in the next eight years.

The special prosecutor in the case, Prince Edward Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark, had asked for an active prison sentence of five years, 20 years of good behavior, indefinite supervised probation, restitution as agreed to by the Commonwealth and Lundy, plus a court order banning Lundy from owing any business in Virginia for the rest of his life.

Lundy was initially charged with 101 counts of obtaining money through false pretenses and forgery. In April, under an agreement with the prosecution, he pleaded guilty to 50 counts and agreed to pay restitution.

Clark, who was appointed special counsel after Mecklenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash recused himself and his office from the case, citing conflicts of interest, explained how she calculated restitution. She deducted several damage claims including those from victims whose cases were not prosecuted, victims who were repaid the amount they say they were cheated out of pocket, and the claims of anyone who obtained a civil judgment against Lundy.

Also not included in the restitution award, according to Clark, was money owed to victims who entered into an agreement with Lundy to forgo restitution in exchange for Lundy’s promise to repay the debt, and the balances owed to finance companies.

Between the time of his plea in April and his court appearance Wednesday, Lundy sent letters accepting responsibility for the debt as well as a signed promissory note with confession of judgement to various companies, among them Virginia Credit Union, USAA, First Flight Federal Credit Union, online financer Kabbage, Apple Federal Credit Union and Credit Acceptance Corp.

Clark noted that the agreement to forego restitution to victims who are being held responsible by finance companies will only stand if Lundy makes good on his promises to repay their debts and the finance companies agree to hold the victims harmless.

Lundy’s counselor, Tessie Smith Sadler, testified that much of his behavior stemmed from a traumatic childhood, family dynamics, and learned behavior from his parents. She also explained that during her sessions with him, Lundy accepted responsibility for his mistakes and expressed extreme remorse, telling her he wants to repay his victims.

Sadler spoke of the toll this matter has had on Lundy, resulting in the breakdown of his marriage (his ex-wife was one of his victims), but also the realization that he not only damaged his victims financially, but also mentally and emotionally, leaving some of them unable to trust anyone.

Lundy was aware that he faced potential jail time, according to Sadler, but expressed hope that his ability to repay his victims would obviate the need to serve any sentence. Instead, he wanted the judge to order him to work earning enough money to discharge his financial obligations to the victims. His attorney, W. Edward Riley of Richmond, suggested Osborn put Lundy on “home incarceration.”

Clark responded that Lundy’s statements and conduct show that he always intended to defraud people, and he was motivated by his need to “keep up appearances.” She acknowledged that Lundy has taken steps to repay his victims their out-of-pocket losses, but noted that he cannot repair their additional injuries — such as damage to their credit scores, their inability to possess cars with a clean title and their loss of trust.

Clark said she was unwilling to allow Lundy to turn his sentencing hearing into a “woe is me party of self-pity” in which he blamed his upbringing, bemoaned the end of his marriage and the loss of reputation. “Plenty of people have family issues but don’t steal. But for his actions, he would not be here,” Clark said.

Clark focused on the victims, including Lundy’s ex-wife, who said in a written statement to the court that she felt guilty, scared, clueless and used by Lundy. Because of his conduct, another victim, a disabled veteran, is left without reliable transportation to get to and from medically necessary treatments at a nearby VA hospital. Other people must now work two jobs to pay to maintain broken-down vehicles that should have been covered under a warranty.

Lundy apologized to the court for his conduct, admitting that what he did was “unethical, immoral and illegal” and saying that he has “overwhelming guilt.” He also promised to volunteer his time to any victim who needs financial help to clean up their credit which was impacted by his conduct.

In handing down his sentence, Osborn said he considered the victim impact statements, arguments of lawyers on both sides and the sentencing guidelines. There are both positives and negatives to this case, Osborn said. The positives are that this was Lundy’s first real crime, he pleaded guilty and paid some restitution — about $40,000 — ahead of sentencing and offered proposals to satisfy remaining claims.

The negatives, according to Osborn, included his “obvious intelligence and college education. If you are that smart, you should not have done that — preyed on families, friends and strangers.”

The other negatives were the duration of the scheme, the number of charges filed against Lundy and the fact that in many of his statements, he “wanted to shift the blame.” Judge Osborn also noted there was no evidence that Lundy was employed at any time between the day of his plea and his sentencing.

Osborn described the sentence he meted out as a balance between what is best for the public and the Commonwealth and what is best for Lundy. He also noted that he could not prevent Lundy from owning a business and would leave it to the discretion of the Department of Motor Vehicles whether they would authorize him to sell vehicles in the future.

Lundy was taken into immediate custody at the end of his sentencing.

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First time???? He embezzled while employed at Peebles Corporate office but it was taken care of internally. AKA _ Daddy paid it for him.


Only 3 years?! Typical. That's what happens when mommy and daddy have money. I know poor people who are facing over 20 years in prison for petty crimes yet this trust fund baby is only going to serve 3 for destroying people's credit and even destroying his marriage by USING his wife in the same manner. He did the same stuff before at Peebles but once again mommy and daddy's money came to the rescue. So sick of this. Private school, spoon fed, bubble wrap boy gets off with 3 years while poor kids who grew up struggling every single day of their lives just trying to make ends meet will face 20 years to life. This legal system is corrupt.


I agree, ridiculous. Here I did 7 years for my crime and was a juvenile. Been home 20 years with 1 speeding ticket and the judge tell me I'm still a menace and denied me gun rights. All debts paid,no parole, rights restored and I'm a threat. This system suck. Money and who you are definitely makes a difference in Mecklenburg county Virginia.

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