Cullman Car Dealer Pleads Guilty to Violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WHNT) – A Cullman used car dealer has pleaded guilty to violating the federal protections for active-duty military service members by refusing to reduce the loan rate and repossessing the vehicle he sold to a national guardsman who was later deployed to  Afghanistan.

Carl Ralph Nuss, 75, pleaded guilty to two county of violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act from his indictment in March.  The act provides certain protections for service members called to active duty, including interest rate limitations and protection from civil suit, repossession and eviction.

Nuss owns the North Alabama Wholesale Autos dealership in Cullman.  In February of 2011, he sold a  2002 Ford Sport-Trac to a 22-year-old man.  The man bought it for $9,746 and, after a $2,200 down payment, financed the remaining balance at 25 percent interest per year.

In May 2012, the Guardsman was called up to active duty.  He sent a letter to the dealership requesting a reduction in interest on his car loan rate from 25 percent to 6 percent, as required by the relief act.

According to the indictment, Nuss never reduced the interest rate and repossessed the truck, violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The maximum penalty for each count is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.  Nuss is scheduled for sentencing on September 12.

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