MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Call it an repair shop rip-off.
Deputies say a Marion County mechanic swindled tens of thousands of dollars from customers.
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Now, Michael Thomas, 36, is charged with organized fraud. He owns Xtreme Diesel Performance near Ocala. The Marion County Sheriff's Office said at least seven customers trusted Thomas with repairs, but never got the work that was promised.
News 6's Matt Petrillo found Thomas at the shop, but Thomas said that he could not answer any questions because his lawyer advised him not to.
Still, Marion County detectives had plenty to say. They found one customer gave Thomas nearly $13,700 to make upgrades to his truck. Instead, court papers show a former employee with Xtreme told detectives, "The truck was driven by Michael for a month and a half as his personal vehicle," and the only thing done to the truck, was Thomas "removed a gas motor that came with the truck and sold it."
Another victim, Steed Dolan, posted a YouTube video after he said Thomas held onto a motor he was building for him for five months. When Dolan finally did receive it, he found pieces of the motor missing.
"These are the parts that are actually supposed to be in this motor. So I don't how how he can tell me for the last month the motor was complete," Dolan said in his YouTube video.
When detectives went to talk to Thomas, court papers show Thomas said he is trying to catch up on work, "which piled up due to medical issues."
In all, Thomas is accused of defrauding his customers a combined $50,000.
The State Attorney's Office is now prosecuting the case.
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