MOORE COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - The owner of an auto repair shop, accused of ripping off nearly two dozen veterans, was arrested Wednesday following a series of FOX 46 investigations.
George Fredericks, the owner of Icon Customs near Ft. Bragg, smiled in his jail mugshot.
"It was good to hear that justice is finally being served," said Army Special Forces Ofc. Alan Lancaster, who gave Fredericks $17,000 to repair his 1966 Mustang Coupe three years ago.
The classic car was returned in pieces. Fredericks never completed the work he promised or was paid to do, Lancaster said.
"I'm glad that FOX and other people took our complaints and our voices seriously," said Lancaster by phone.
Fredericks' arrest comes following a series of FOX 46 investigations in which we spoke to nearly a half dozen veterans. All told similar stories, accusing Fredericks of taking tens of thousands of dollars from them to fix their classic cars - only to have them sit for years and returned stripped or in pieces.
Fredericks is charged with more than a dozen felony counts of altering VIN and serial numbers. Investigators with the Department of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau had been investigating him for months and called his operation a "chop shop" in the arrest report.
A "chop shop" sign, with a bloody cleaver, was seen hanging in a back office inside Icon Customs in Aberdeen, N.C.
DMV investigators raided the business last year. Shortly after, Fredericks told FOX 46 "there was no swapping ever of any VIN numbers."
Fredericks admitted he got in over his head and promised to do work he couldn't fulfill. He blamed difficulty getting parts. In November, he appeared in small claims court and was ordered to pay one veteran $4000. At his court appearance he falsely told the judge DMV investigators told him they cleared him of any wrongdoing - when their investigation was very much ongoing.
FOX 46 obtained a secret audio recording of an employee admitting they had a financial incentive to take money from customers but not perform any work.
"That's why we have 60 cars here," an employee is heard saying. "'Cause that's the only way he [Fredericks] makes money is by opening more obs and taking deposits and just letting it sit forever."
Fredericks was released from the Moore County Jail on $20,000 bond. He will go before a judge on Feb. 13.
Fredericks declined to comment on his arrest.
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