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Local Authorities Offer Advice after Used Car Scam Uncovered in Katy


December 9, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark

Deputies with Harris County Constable Ted Heap’s Office arrested a former car dealership employee wanted for running a used car scam out of Katy. Victims report over $10,000 stolen in the scams.

Used Car Scam Suspect Arrested in Katy

Precinct 5 Deputies arrested John Payne, 32, at a Katy apartment complex at the 21900 block of Clay Road on Monday, December 6 after a several month investigation.

Suspect Stole Vehicle from Dealership

After the investigation, authorities found that Payne had taken the keys in 2019 as a trade-in while working for the Volkswagen Cypress at 19500 block of the Northwest Freeway. He was fired from that job in 2019 for another reason.

The transfer of ownership was never filed, and it seems he was using it as his personal vehicle until he tried to fraudulently sell it to the second reported victim last August.

When selling the car, Payne allegedly took the cash and sped off away from the victim. The victim then reached out to authorities.

Many Katy residents report the difficulties of buying a car in this current market. New cars can have up to 2-6 months wait for arrival. This opens up the market and higher demand for used vehicles.

Constable Ted Heap Offers Advice

"Make sure you get documents that prove the seller has ownership of the vehicle," says Constable Heap. "Get a photo of the seller's driver's license and a picture of the VIN as well.”

“If you are trading in a vehicle at a dealership, take time to read any and all documents you are required to sign and get a copy of those papers for your own protection.,” stresses Constable Heap.

According to deputies with Constable Ted Heap’s Warrants Division and Strategic Response Unit, two local victims have been scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars in this used scar scam.

Investigators identified Payne, who had posted the vehicle for sale under an alias, as having extensive criminal history in Texas, Indiana, and Illinois. He has already been released on bond on the two new charges of felony theft by Judge Nikita Harmon and the 176th District Court.


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