The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Wed May 16, 2018
Author: Jessica Machetta
Faye Morero, 71, and Ken Searcy, 69, have been arraigned in a fraud case stemming from Bakersfield, California. R.V. Peddler was locally known for its slogan, “I’ll take anything in on trade” -– even pigs.
Morero and Searcy are accused of defrauding customers to the tune of $2.8 million as the business struggled to keep its doors open. Both face 47 felony charges of grand theft and one count of conspiracy.
Charging documents say Morero and Searcy made the decision at several meetings to not pay off bank loans, consumers, or banks, and instead use the money for other bills, including commissions paid to sales people.
“This case is unique,” says Deputy District Attorney of Kern County Michael Caves. “The dollar amount of the fraud isn’t unique, but it is unique that it’s to this scope, where they’re defrauding customers and it’s so spread out.”
Caves says as with most white-collar crimes, there is a huge amount of paperwork serving as evidence. He says in this case, it appears the financial discrepancies began in 2016 and continued through 2018.
Caves says what sets this case apart is that usually when prosecutors investigate fraud cases involving millions of dollars, it’s in medical billing, banking, business to business, or business to insurance. In those cases, huge amounts of money are illegally transferred, but the ratio is just a small percentage of the company’s entire financial dealings.
“In this case, for a lot of these people, it was their life savings, their retirement plan. It was significant chunks of money,” Caves says. “That was one of the really important factors. It would be different if was just one or two customers… and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the business was struggling. We didn’t see any evidence that Faye was hoarding money for herself; it looks like a lot of it went into the business, but that doesn’t make it excusable, you’re still defrauding victims.”
The D.A.’s Office has been contacting former employees, who are being cooperative, Caves says.
“From 2014 to 2016, workers started getting a lot of complaints,” he says. “A lot of workers either left or reported it. The workers we’ve reached out to, a lot of them said they were glad we reached out because they knew things weren’t right and they felt bad for the customers.”
Long-time owner of R.V. Peddler, Tony Morero, died several years ago.
Caves says Merero has another business by the same name in Yuma, Arizona, and that police there are investigating whether customers may have been defrauded at that location. If so, Merero will face additional criminal charges.
After a preliminary hearing is held, the case will be set for trial.
A third person involved in what the D.A.’s office calls a Ponzi scheme has been given immunity in exchange for her testimony against her Merero.
Meanwhile, in a similar case out of Largo, Florida, Jeremy Raney was recently found guilty of defrauding customers out of more than $250,000 at his ailing father’s business, Consignment RV. He’s being held as he awaits sentencing; he faces 30 years.
Fox 58 covered the hearing in court. Click HERE to see the full story, or click the video below.