Sketchy CNC Motors Consignment Supercar Dealership was a Ponzi scheme?

If you haven’t heard of CNC Motors in Upland, California, consider yourself lucky. At some point, this consignment car dealership decided to stop paying sellers for vehicles that owners had consigned. But the drama doesn’t end there. CNC Motors is known to keep some exotic supercars like McLarens, Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Lotuses, Rolls Royces, and Mercedes on the lot, in addition to some random older vehicles and upgraded Jeeps. While CNC offers promises that the vehicles are in tip-top shape, it becomes clear soon after that most of these supercars are not mechanically sound.

CNC Motors Consignment supercar dealership…Ponzi scheme

CNC motors, supercar dealership Ponzi scheme
CNC motors, supercar dealership Ponzi scheme | CNC Motors, Yelp

There are a variety of reviews across platforms that reference alleged recent dealings with CNC Motors. It also appears to go by Lotus of Upland, which is shown on some customer-provided purchase orders. The CNC Motors Yelp page shows as claimed, which means that the business has verified the information on the page. Yelp reviews are sometimes unreliable, so take that into account. However, there are pages and pages of reviews that mention issues consigning a vehicle.

CNC Motors allegedly took cars on consignment and sold said cars, like the Ferraris photographed above, to unsuspecting buyers. The original co-signers complained that once CNC allegedly sold the car, CNC rendered no payment. Many of the Yelp reviews mention outstanding balances and issues getting ahold of anyone to discuss payment.

As of right now, the CNC Motors website is down. However, a website called CNC Motors Lawsuit is up. The website was created in March of 2021 and requested information from other people impacted by the situation. The Better Business Bureau lists CNC Motors Inc as a “used car dealer” that is not BBB accredited. There are 12 one-star reviews currently. Another website is dedicated to Clayton Thom, with a simple header stating “Liar, Con Artist, and Thief.”

Doug DeMuro has publicly denounced Thom and has tried to separate himself from the supercar dealership, though that might be too little too late.

The supercar sales slowed at CNC Motors when the news spread

The San Bernardino County Sentinel claims the dealership is holding $7.25 million in consignment proceeds.

“An Upland-based high-end vehicle dealer has defrauded more than three dozen individuals on both ends of the transactions his company has been involved in over the last 12 months, diverting an estimated $7.25 million in the process from the sellers and title owners of the cars in question to accounts unknown.”

Mark Gutglueck | San Bernardino County Sentinel

The Sentinel says the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and the Upland Police Department have been receiving complaints about the dealership for months. Thom, the owner of CNC Motors, is the one name constantly brought up. He has allegedly been facilitating the sales of supercars valued at over $100,000 and then never delivering the title to the new buyer.

Thom gets to keep the money and focuses on leading owners and sellers on a wild goose chase. At the end of the day, Thom (allegedly) does not have the money in his possession to pay the seller. Various excuses are offered, such as the company checkbook is missing, the bank closed early, the internet is down. No matter the excuse, the money is not provided to the rightful seller. No matter the case, Thom doesn’t seem to have the title himself to offer the buyer. The buyer never gets the title, the seller (presumably) cuts insurance for the vehicle, and the rest is a convoluted history.

The police and California DMV are involved now

The piece of the puzzle that has allowed this to go on for so long is that the seller of the cars generally has no way to contact the new owner. CNC Motors was no help. The owner has no idea of the issues until a title is requested, and even then, the excuses sometimes prolong the issue becoming an issue. The new owner cannot register and insure the vehicle, while the seller is likely still paying for some piece of the car.

“So, in addition to the owner yet making payments on a car he no longer possesses, he finds himself in the position of having to pay for insurance on the vehicle as well.” And so it continues. However, it seems the jig is finally up. The police handed over the information provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, The Drive spoke to someone in Florida that filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. There are countless instances of this bait-and-switch happening across the country.

Like many industries, coronavirus (COVID-19) also hit the supercar sales industry pretty hard during coronavirus woes. This made it harder for Thom to keep paying off those he owed with the newly tricked money, also known as a Ponzi scheme.

CNC Motors supercar dealership is done for now

Based on unverified sources, it seems the supercar dealership is now empty, and Thom’s home was raided earlier this week. Some of the homes in Thom’s name were listed on Zillow sold in early April. It appears the walls finally closed in on Thom, but what becomes of all the vehicles caught up in this mess? What about all of the money owed? Thom is allegedly in jail now, but that has not been confirmed.

Comments on every publication posted about this show that people are worried Thom might get out of fail and jump ship. Many people seem to be missing cars still, in addition to many missing checks for cars. The official information has not been released yet, likely because the case is still being investigated because the web of deceit is so large…Will Clayton Thom wiggle out of this mess, too?

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