Sep. 23—A Longmont man indicted by a grand jury after police said he collected about $1 million to clone vintage Chevrolet Camaros but never delivered on the cars was sentenced to financial probation and jail.
Frederick Spender Wetherall, 59, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal mischief — more than $1 million, a Class 2 felony.
On Friday, Wetherall was sentenced to 20 years in probation and 90 days in jail by Boulder District Judge Patrick Butler, according to online court records. Prison was not a sentence option based on the plea agreement reached by attorneys.
Attorneys had also previously said Wetherall will also pay restitution of around $1.15 million, with a minimum monthly payment determined by probation.
According to the indictment, Wetherall was the owner of a business called Wetherall Restorations in Longmont that constructed “clones” of 1969 Camaro ZL-1s by using the shell of a Camaro to build a replica to the customer’s specifications.
Investigators said Wetherall advertised through eBay and would ask customers to pay cash up front for the vehicles and sign a contract that included the specifications for the vehicle but no expected completion date for the Camaro.
According to the indictment, several customers called police after reportedly sending Wetherall payments between $20,000 and $110,000 for vehicles that Wetherall never delivered.
Between 2013 and late 2019, police estimated Wetherall collected about $1 million from various customers without ever delivering a vehicle and never issuing full refunds when customers asked for them.
Police said based on bank records, it appeared Wetherall spent the money he received on personal and business expenses.
A detective with Longmont police would regularly visit Wetherall’s shop and determined that Wetherall would sometimes send photos of different Camaros to convince customers their orders were further along than they were.
Wetherall reportedly would blame delays on body or paint work being done by other vendors, but several vendors told police they had repeated problems obtaining payment from Wetherall.
In addition, police determined Wetherall did not register his business and did not pay personal or business taxes because the shop was a “hobby,” even though police determined it was his sole source of income.