Fresno, CA, Man Charged with Running Auto Theft Scheme

Christopher-Asher-Fresno-CA-auto-theft-forgery-arrest

Detectives with the Fresno, CA, H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) Task Force arrested Christopher Michael Asher, 56, of Fresno, for allegedly running an auto broker scam.

On March 30, Asher was booked into the Fresno County Jail on numerous charges related to auto theft and forgery. His bail was set at $117,000. He has since posted bond and been released from jail with a court hearing scheduled for May 19.

Detectives began this investigation in August 2022, after learning a Huntington Beach, CA, car dealer was searching for one of its vehicles, listed as stolen, in the Fresno area. HEAT detectives determined the Huntington Beach dealer originally sold this vehicle to Asher for $58,000.

Asher presented himself as the general manager of Artanis Automotive, located at 5494 E. Lamona Ave. in Fresno. Since Artanis had a valid licensed dealer number, the Huntington Beach dealer finalized the transaction by sending the vehicle to Fresno. However, the check Asher sent bounced when the dealer tried cashing it.

Detectives found the vehicle in Fresno and contacted the man driving it. He explained he bought the vehicle from Asher after giving him a down payment of $12,000. Asher helped him finance the remaining amount through a company called Anchored Finance. Detectives discovered this man and the finance company were victims of a scam Asher had constructed.

Due to being a previously convicted felon, Asher was not eligible to have a car dealer/broker license. However, he was able to obtain a license by forging documents, using the personal information of one of his acquaintances who had a clean record.

On March 30, detectives served a search warrant at Asher’s home in the 1000 block of E. Wathen Ave. in Fresno. There they collected evidence and arrested Asher.

Detectives have located additional victims who were scammed and investigations into those cases are taking place.

Law enforcement wants to inform the public of Asher’s illegal activity because there is a good chance there are more victims out there who have dealt with Asher and do not realize they have been taken advantage of or never filed a police report.

If you or someone you know are potential victims, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-3111 or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-7867, www.valleycrimestoppers.org. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Reference HEAT/CHP case number F146-412-23.

Source: Fresno County Sheriff's Office

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