Former VP of marketing Shiraaz Sookralli ran off with $2.5 million worth of unfulfilled orders. Someone has to pay.
Earlier this month we learned the story of Shiraaz Sookralli, the now former VP of marketing for Champion Porsche, located in Pompano Beach, Florida. Sookralli and his wife Vimla are accused of scamming customers out of $2.5 million in unfulfilled orders on highly sought after Porsches like the latest 911 GT3 and GT3 RS. It doesn't help that Champion Porsche previously had a rock-solid reputation as America's top-volume Porsche dealership. While its overall sales will remain intact, the damage to its reputation needs some fixing, especially after it was named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit.
According to an updated report from Automotive News, the dealership vows to make things right with Sookralli's victims. The dealership's attorney, Roy Diaz, told Automotive News the dealership intends to "advance funds to customers equivelant to their deposits by October 12." Above all, Champion Motors 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," Diaz added. Despite what happened, some customers apparently aren't too upset at the dealership and will continue doing business there. Some intend to use their refunded deposits towards another Porsche purchase. Meanwhile, Champion Motors is still examining how it can recover the stolen $2.5 million.
Sookralli, as well as the money he stole, have yet to turn up. Sookralli, who worked for the dealership for nearly a decade, set up a shell company called Champion Autosport where the stolen funds were deposited. And despite taking and stealing those deposits, Sookralli never actually placed orders for any of the vehicles. Sookralli apparently already had a history of shady sales deals involving high-end Porsches. Earlier this year, for example, he was sued over the supposed sale of a pair of 911Rs, each valued at around $500,000. One of the 911Rs was never delivered, even though he took a $350,000 deposit from its hopeful buyer.
So on the one hand Champion Motors is absolutely doing the right thing by advancing the $2.5 million to reimburse Sookralli's victims. However, it sounds a bit strange management didn't clue into the fact that something was up based on Sookralli's previous actions with the 911Rs and the fact no orders were actually placed despite accepting customer deposits.