Francis Masika made a name for himself in Hampton Roads as your neighborhood friendly Christian car dealer.
"He was very nice, very charming, very accommodating,” said Sabrina Furman, one of Masika’s former customers. “Just the perfect salesman you would love to deal with.”
Virginia DMV investigators said Masika took down payments from some customers and never delivered on the vehicles.
“Turned out he wasn`t legit,” said Jonothan Wilson, another one of Masika’s former customers who gave him a $1,500 down payment for a BMW Masika advertised on Craigslist.com, but did not deliver.
Wilson told NewsChannel 3 it took nearly two years for him to get his money back.
Furman said Masika convinced her to sign over her car loan for $38,000 to him. A judge has since ordered Masika to return the car or pay Furman $15,000. He has not done either.
"He suggested that I refinance it with a bank that would give me 5.5 percent, and when I gave him the check for $38,699 to pay the first loan off, he kept the money instead, said Furman. “It`s a terrible feeling to be paying for a car that you don`t have and you don`t where it is, and you don`t know if you`ll ever get it back.”
Customer complaints of deceptive practices led the DMV and the Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board to revoke Masika’s licenses for his Town Automotive Brokers business in Chesapeake in September 2012.
In November 2010, DMV agents charged Masika with using another person's social security number to buy a truck in York County.
In June 2011, DMV investigators charged Masika with advertising cars he was not authorized to sell on Craigslist.com, and accepting down payments on some of those cars.
On top of those charges, a Hampton jury convicted Masika of selling cars without a license in another case. A judge sentenced him to four months in jail in on June 15, 2012, but Masika received credit for time he served awaiting trial.
Court documents show Masika did not show up for his July 31, 2012 trial in York County, nor his October 15, 2012 trial in Newport News. Court documents label him as a fugitive, and warrants are out for his arrest.
NewsChannel 3 Investigator Jessica Larche went looking for Masika at nearly a dozen homes and businesses in Hampton Roads, but a Facebook page belonging to a Frank Masika showed pictures of the fugitive eating at restaurants, dancing at weddings and advertising cars for sale.
After weeks of reaching out to Masika, his lawyers and family, a post from the same Frank Masika Facebook page appeared on wtkr.com Wednesday night. .
It said, in part, “I have no reason to run” and “I'm not a fugitive. I missed court because I broke my leg".
The post goes on to say, “I still promise to make things right when I get back on my feet."
People who said they have been scorned by Masika hope that day comes sooner than later.
“You know what you`ve done, pay the people back, that`s all to it,” Wilson said.
NewsChannel 3 has contacted the DMV about our findings, but they did not want to be interviewed on camera citing an ongoing investigation.