BBB Alert: Ex-Con Targets Business Owners and Collectors

  
     
December 13, 2017

Kansas City – BBB of Greater Kansas City advises caution when entering into business relations with Travis Oberg.

Travis ObergAccording to BBB files and business owners who have had contact with him, Oberg represents himself as the owner of Maaco Sales and Reconditioning, a Limited Liability Company he registered with the Missouri Secretary of State. Oberg is known to BBB for his conviction for fraud committed in his previous business, Yoshida Motor Sports. Oberg pleaded guilty to wire fraud after an FBI investigation and was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison. Since his release from prison in August 2016, Oberg has engaged in business deals in which his employers and potential customers have accused him of theft, misrepresentative sales practices, fraud and forgery.

Oberg has an extensive criminal history. Before serving his prison term for wire fraud, he had been convicted of stealing, passing bad checks, defrauding an innkeeper, stealing by deceit, resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement officer, theft and check-kiting.

After his release from prison in 2016, Oberg obtained employment from Maaco Collision Repair in Independence and then in Kansas City. Maaco Collision Kansas City owner Jared McCart claims that while he employed Oberg from December 2016 to February 2017, Oberg stole more than $30,000 from his business. According to McCart and his insurance company’s investigation, on 22 separate occasions Oberg accepted cash payments from Maaco customers, pocketed the cash, and then charged other customers’ credit cards for the amount he pocketed.  When he became aware of Oberg’s actions, McCart said he recorded Oberg’s confession of the theft and terminated him. 

Oberg reportedly told McCart that he would pay the money back. Another local business owner reported to BBB that Oberg contacted him about a real estate deal, proposing that the owner “short sell” a property. According to this owner, Oberg was to facilitate the sale of another property and use funds from that sale to purchase the owner’s property. The owner claims that around $35,000 from the sale would go directly to Maaco as part of what Oberg said was a “franchising deal.” The owner grew suspicious and asked the closer of the collateral property to not sign any check until both properties closed. The owner claimed that Oberg forged his name on the contract. The deal fell through when the owner discovered that the property used to generate capital was not actually for sale. 

Since his termination from Maaco Collision Repair in Kansas City, Oberg has used Maaco’s name in business deals and has registered the LLC “Maaco Sales and Reconditioning” with the State of Missouri. Local Maaco franchise owners all deny any relationship with Oberg. Two local owners know of Oberg making unauthorized use of the Maaco name.

Another local business owner loaned Oberg $1,500 and, in exchange, Oberg let him hold the title to a classic car. When Oberg failed to pay back the money, the business owner claimed the title of the car. Unbeknownst to the business owner, the car already was being used as collateral to Maaco Kansas City, which planned to put a lien on the vehicle. Eventually Maaco released the vehicle and chose not to file a lien.

Nearly identical circumstances involved two classic car dealerships on the east and west coast.  In June of 2017, Oberg sold four vehicles to a dealership in Connecticut for $53,000. After Oberg failed to deliver the vehicles on previous occasions, the dealership gave Oberg a final opportunity to deliver the vehicles by August 30, 2017.  In the same week as that proposed delivery, Oberg sold three classic cars to a dealership in Beverly Hills, California for $45,000. BBB found that two of the four vehicles sold to the Connecticut dealership in June matched the VIN numbers of vehicles sold to the Beverly Hills dealership. Even after selling the vehicles a second time,  Oberg emailed the Connecticut dealership that the vehicles were in transit. 

In the end, none of the vehicles were delivered to either dealership. The Connecticut dealership demanded a return of its $ 53,000, but Oberg has not refunded its money to date. The Beverly Hills dealership demanded Oberg return its $ 45,000. Oberg has returned $ 8,500, but not repaid the rest. Out of these two transactions, Oberg has pocketed $ 89,500.   

The owner of East Central Sports in Minnesota, Mac Johnston, spotted an advertisement from Oberg on ATV Trader and phoned him about buying all-terrain vehicles. According to Johnston, Oberg claimed he would sell 10 ATVs for $10,000 below dealer value. Oberg claimed to have the ATVs in his warehouse, but the images from the ad were not taken by Oberg nor of a warehouse he owned, instead being that of Cazador USA. Johnston and Oberg continued speaking for a week about this deal and others.

When a customer interrupted Johnston’s phone conversation with Oberg, Mac’s father, Todd, took over the phone.  According to Mac Johnston, Todd and Oberg talked about classic cars. Todd said that his favorite car was a 1966 Chevrolet Impala and, later that night, Oberg called about a deal on a 1966 Impala. According to Todd, Oberg claimed to know an estate auctioneer who could get him the car “for a song,” Oberg forwarded Todd a bill of sale for the vehicle for the price of $13,500.

BBB tracked down the vehicle and found it in the possession of a private seller. It never went to an estate auction, the price was never so low, and the seller says his signature was forged on the bill of sale Oberg had sent to Todd Johnston. Oberg had gone to the seller’s property and had taken video of the vehicle.  The seller says Oberg agreed to pay $25,000 for the car. When BBB asked the owner if he ever considered selling the vehicle for $13,500, he said, “absolutely not.”  

According to Mac Johnson, when Oberg claimed to have the vehicle, Todd Johnston asked for a copy of the title. The private seller was still waiting for the title of the vehicle on his end and could not provide Oberg a copy.

Oberg then found another 1966 Impala and changed the VIN# on the Bill of Sale. Johnston claims that Oberg told him the original VIN# was a clerical error.  BBB tracked down this second Impala’s owner and found that Oberg had requested a copy of the title. The owner said the car was totaled and inoperable with extensive front-end damage.

After slowly backing out of the deal with Oberg, Todd Johnston received a text message from Oberg stating, “my home that is paid off is worth as much as triple than your sons business I have commercial Realestate that is worth more than you are…” [sic].

Certain people who have dealt with Oberg claim he has belittled them and fabricated stories about those who complain about him.  BBB spoke with a fraud victim from 2010 who provided information to the FBI investigation of Oberg. The victim provided a message reportedly left by Oberg in which Oberg called him a terrorist, used homophobic slurs, made obscene insults and threatened him with a defamation suit.

Based on reports about Oberg’s current activity and criminal past, including convictions for violent acts, BBB advises extreme caution when dealing with him.

If you feel that you’ve been victim of fraud or feel threatened, contact law enforcement or BBB.