Former sales manager charged in Las Vegas auto dealership embezzlement scheme

Michael Sims (Metropolitan Police Department)

A former sales manager at a Las Vegas auto dealership has been charged with carrying out an embezzlement scheme that caused more than $250,000 in losses to the dealership, according to Las Vegas police.

Michael Sims Jr., 51, of Henderson, was booked at the Clark County Detention Center Thursday on a single felony count of theft of $100,000 or more. An arrest warrant for Sims secured by Las Vegas police in October indicates Sims is accused of carrying out a protracted theft from CardinaleWay Acura, 7000 W. Sahara Ave., that cost the business $255,618.

Police said an investigation into Sims started after a supervisor at the dealership learned in March of 2021 of a cashier’s check given to the business by a customer that could not be processed. Sims, when questioned about it, said the customer was supposed to bring a new check in later.

The supervisor, however, contacted the customer and learned the customer had actually given Sims a cash deposit when they bought their vehicle. Supervisors, police said, then challenged Sims about the discrepancy.

“Sims became uneasy and confirmed that the customer did bring in cash for the deal,” police said. “Sims stated to (the supervisor) that he stole the money because he has a gambling problem.”

Police said Sims told supervisors he stole from the dealership on multiple transactions when customers brought in cash deposits. The dealer then reached out to all the customers impacted and made the situation right so that “customers were not made victims and the company took the full loss,” police said.

Sims, police said, would write receipts using a receipt book that had previously gone missing, then manipulated computerized business records.

“To cover his theft, he could not get large enough credit card deposits (so) he would go back into the system changing the contract amounts of down payments and forged contracts to balance the books to show no loss to the dealership,” police said.

Sims was fired shortly after the discovery, police said. More auditing found that Sims was also stealing from his co-workers by failing to give them cash earned by participating in dealership events. Police said gambling receipts showed Sims had gambled $35,000 at local P.T.’s Pubs in just a few months in 2021.

Sims was arrested Thursday morning by Las Vegas police after being involved in a car crash at Eastern and Serene avenues.

Court records do not list an attorney for Sims. He remained housed at the detention center Friday morning, although Las Vegas Justice Court records indicate he has been granted a release on his own recognizance while under low-level electronic monitoring.

His next court date is scheduled for Thursday.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.