I'm no thief, says Ian Lyn - Used-car dealer wanted by the police breaks silence from overseas
Wanted for questioning by the Fraud Squad, Ian Lyn, the former director of Carmax Jamaica Limited, has broken his silence, declaring that he is not a thief, even as the cops say allegations of impropriety against the company he formerly ran has climbed to $160 million.
"First of all, let's make it clear that I am not a director of Carmax, since last October. I haven't been the head of operations for six months. Second, I am not a thief, because that is diametrically opposed to who I am. And third, the allegations are far from the truth," Lyn told The Sunday Gleaner by telephone from an undisclosed location overseas.
According to Lyn, he was never the majority shareholder in the company which traded in used cars. He added that he did not flee Jamaica to avoid possible fraud charges, similar to those levelled against Daren Blake, a director in Carmax.
"I am out of the country on business. I am many things, but I am not a thief. It is against who I am and everything that I strive to do for all the years of my business life," reiterated Lyn, a former president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers' Association.
However, Lyn refused to say when he would be returning to Jamaica to face the music, following a plea from the Fraud Squad for him to turn himself in for questioning. Instead, the car dealer referred our news team to his lawyer, Shantez Stewart.
The attorney later said he is taking instructions from his client and could not say when Lyn will make himself available to the cops.
"My client advised me to go to the Fraud Squad and present certain information, which I did. Having done that, we will now allow all the processes of the judicial system to proceed," said Stewart.
"However, I must reiterate that my client relinquished his position as director since October last year, and has been travelling in and out of Jamaica on business before the barrage of complaints exploded," added Stewart.
Head of the Fraud Squad, Superintendent Anthony McLaughlin, has already indicated that the police are considering their options, following Lyn's failure to turn himself in.
Last week, auto broker Roderick Byles obtained a Supreme Court order which placed Carmax into receivership. The assets of Blake and Lyn, who holds an American passport, were also placed into receivership.
The court order bars the two from disposing of, or transferring their assets above $2.5 million. The two Carmax officials have been given seven days after being served with the order to disclose their assets locally and abroad.
But before the court order was handed down, Lyn, who has spent several years in the used-car industry, told The Sunday Gleaner that anyone working in that sector must be focused on servicing the clients because it is easy for things to go wrong.
He explained that Carmax sells an average 30 cars for clients per month at an average of $2 million per car for a total of roughly $60 million each month.
"If management is not in place to manage this rotating finance, things can go wrong," argued Lyn.
"Every customer of Carmax signs a 30- to 90-day agreement of sale because of the extensive way the company sells cars to people, companies and other dealers on purchase orders or letters of undertaking (LOU), which both have a 30-day waiting period.
"If something went wrong or customers were delayed, then there is a five per cent additional payment added to their agreed fee," explained Lyn.
He argued that the current issues affecting Carmax are, at best, civil matters and not criminal issues because of the agreement that is in place with the customers.
"Because of the allegations and reports of arrest in the media, customers who would be due for payment in April, May and June are now calling in the debt and throwing away their contracts," charged Lyn.
According to Lyn, the six-year-old Carmax could not have survived for as long as it did if it was doing bad business since it was started in 2009 by himself and Blake.
He said Blake holds 70 per cent shares in the company and ran Carmax while he was attached to another company.
"In my 20 years in auto business, I have never been convicted of any wrongdoing, and I have managed millions of dollars and had up to 25 people working with me in five departments. I don't believe Daren Blake is guilty. I believe he was overwhelmed and he did not have the help he needed," he said.
Blake is facing 88 counts of fraud involving more than $161 million. He is scheduled to return to court on May 1.