Florida Porsche dealer to reimburse scam victims

Its former employee disappeared with $2.5 million in customer deposits

The Florida Porsche dealer where customers and dealership officials alike say a former vice president rode off with more than $2.5 million in customer deposits for special-order 911 GT3 and GT3 RS supercars that never arrived has agreed to reimburse affected customers.

Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Champion Porsche, the top Porsche dealer in the U.S. by sales volume, hopes to reimburse customers for their losses by Oct. 12, with some customers planning to apply the amount of their deposits to new vehicles. It wants to "make sure that these victims — that's what we're calling them — come out of this from a customer satisfaction perspective as satisfied as possible," its attorney, Roy Diaz, told Automotive News.

Champion Porsche filed a lawsuit last month in a Broward County circuit court against Shiraaz Sookralli, its former VP of marketing; his wife, Vimla Sookralli; and the fictitious shell company Champion Autosport. It accuses Sookralli of defrauding customers of their deposits on special-order 911 GT3 and GT2 RS models by having them wire money to the shell fund, which he later drained into personal accounts and disappeared, his whereabouts unknown.

The agreement would require customers to assign their claims to Champion Porsche, which would then try to recover the money through its lawsuit. Police also continue to investigate.

A company called M&L Luxury Cars had sued Sookralli in February over an alleged fraudulent scheme involving two $500,000 Porsche 911 Rs. Champion Porsche was named as co-defendant in that suit.

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