Earlier this year, a Chicago-area Fiat Chrysler dealership filed a civil lawsuit against the automaker claiming it bribed dealers in exchange for having them report false sales figures. FCA denied the claims and looked to have them thrown out, but now the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the company for a related matter.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the FBI and the SEC are conducting a probe into FCA over how it reports sales figures. The investigation is still in its early stages, however a report from Automotive News last week claimed the FBI and SEC visited FCA offices and the residences of current and former FCA employees on July 11th as part of the inquiry.
The Chicago-area dealership that filed the civil suit, Napleton Automotive Group, claimed FCA attempted to pay them to report false sales figures. The filing alleged FCA offered up $20,000 for employees to falsely report the sales of 40 new vehicles at the end of the month and then back out of the sales before the factory warranty could be processed.
Napleton’s suit explained how this tactic “results in the inflation of the number of year-over-year sales which, in turn, create the appearance that FCA’s performance is better than, in reality, it actually is.” FCA responded by saying the suit was “replete with conclusory allegations, substitutes vitriol for plausibility, and relies on wholly illogical theories devoid of any legal support.”
Bloomberg says the SEC and Justice Departmant declined to comment on the investigation.