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2 Investigators: Car Dealer Sells SUV To Blind Man

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — An elderly, dying man was visited by a car dealer and ended up with a vehicle and a big loan. CBS 2’s Dave Savini investigated the family member and dealership involved in this deal.

Barb Tinker says a brand new GMC Terrain was part of a $42,000 scam perpetrated, with the help of a car dealership, on her elderly parents. Her 90-year-old mother Christen Thomsen suffers dementia and can barely walk. Thomsen’s 89-year-old, World War II veteran, husband Harold was legally blind, on morphine, and in hospice last summer when the couple was sold the vehicle. He died three weeks after the family says a Palmen Motors employee went to the couple’s home to get the dying man’s signature on a contract.

“It’s morally wrong what they did and how they did it,” said Barb Tinker. “They exploited the elderly people.”

At the Kenosha, Wisconsin, dealership, Savini spoke with a man who identified himself as the manager and said, “Everything was done legally.”

Barb Tinker says her brother, David McMurray, was the one who wanted the SUV. She says he secretly took their elderly mother from Illinois to the Wisconsin dealership.

The dealership’s manager says the mother seemed fine, “The mother, as far as we know, didn’t have dementia. Nothing was mentioned about that.”

The deal failed using just Christen Thomsen’s income. Harold Thomsen’s signature was needed to get the loan. The son was not even a cosigner, yet the dealership worked with him to get his ailing parents to pay for a car they could not afford and did not need.

An emotional Christen Thomsen says she does not remember the dealer bringing the records to sign and worries about this purchase.

“Here I’m 90 years old and now what?” said Thomsen.

Tinker says McMurray was able to hide the vehicle purchase until he got busted last month in an unrelated criminal case. That is when the rest of the family discovered the vehicle purchase.

“My father died before the first payment on that car was even due,” said Tinker.

Because of our investigation, an attorney for Palmen Motors called CBS 2 tonight to say they regret the way this transaction turned out. They are now going to buy the car back, pay off the loan and make the family whole for all they lost in the transaction.

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