H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Oct 18, 2011 9:40 PM by Liza Sullivan

Lawsuit accuses San Luis Obispo car dealer of 'fraud'

A San Luis Obispo auto dealer is facing fraud allegations. A lawsuit claims he imported and sold an illegal car.

Ian Smith, who runs a luxury-car dealership on Monterey street is being accused of "falsifying" a title document and switching VIN numbers.

Over the summer he sold a Land Rover to a man in Los Angeles who is now claiming he was misled.

A lawsuit was filed against Smith and Italia LLC in September.

It states that in July, Smith listed a 1972 Defender 110 on eBay, advertising it as a "ground-up restoration" ... and "met all 2010 specifications."

Smith sold the Land Rover to Daniel Starr of Beverly Hills for 78 thousand dollars.

Starr claims it was not a 1972 model, but in fact, a 2010 Defender, a vehicle that does not meet highway traffic and safety standards, and cannot be legally imported into the U.S.

The lawsuit states "had Mr. Starr known the truth he would not have agreed to purchase the vehicle."

It claims that Smith agreed to buy back the vehicle, but "offered Mr. Starr a small cash payment, along with a number of Rolex and Piaget watches, a boat listed on the Smith Mitsubishi website and a 2004 Mercedes 500SL to hold as collateral."

Starr alleges that the defendant has "now stopped responding to e-mails and messages."

Ian Smith denies the claims, but would not go on the record with his side of the story.

His attorney, refused an interview, but said "a lawsuit belongs in court.

"The issues will be hashed out and tried in court, and he is confident the results will be successful for his client."

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