SANTAQUIN — The owner of an auto mechanic shop faces criminal charges accusing him of collecting money from multiple customers upfront to fix engines, but then never completing the work or returning the engines.
Jeremy Sean Freeman, 32, of Lehi, was charged Tuesday in 4th District Court with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, theft by deception, communications fraud and theft, all second-degree felonies.
Freeman is the owner of Performance Diesel Repair in Santaquin. According to charging documents, starting in 2019, Freeman "used his business to steal money and property from nine separate victims. The victims all reported that they had paid (Freeeman) upfront for engine work on their vehicles. In each case (he) accepted the money, removed the engines from the vehicles, and broke off contact with the victims."
When customers contacted Freeman, he "gave them assurances that their vehicles would be finished quickly, but then he never contacted them and continued to avoid their calls," the charges state. He would "keep the victim's property without doing any work for months and in some cases for over a year."
When some customers threatened to go to police, Freeman told them it was a civil matter, according to the charges. When the customers then said they would sue him, Freeman told them "he would just file bankruptcy and they would never get their money back."
Of the nine victims identified in charging documents, seven of them reported paying a total of $44,300 for work that was never completed. Some victims reported their engines were never returned, two reported that parts of their engine or their truck were stripped, and one person reported that he paid Freeman to fix his vehicle but since then it has not been returned and cannot be found, according to the charges.
Freeman is also accused in one case of charging a victim's credit card "for purchases to a third party that were not authorized," the charges state.
On the Better Business Bureau's website, six complaints have been filed against Performance Diesel Repair since 2019.
In August, Freeman was charged with theft, a second-degree felony, in 4th District Court, in a similar case. According to charging documents, a person purchased an engine from Freeman for $6,300 in June but never received it.