Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon.
Jerry S. Rhodes, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE MCCULLOUGH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Pursuant to section 5-501(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 5-501(a)), the Secretary of State revoked the dealer's licenses issued to the plaintiff, Raymond Dean Lindsey. Lindsey filed for administrative review, but the circuit court of Sangamon County affirmed the Secretary's decision. Lindsey appeals, contending his conduct was not sufficient to justify revocation of his licenses.
Prior to 1984, section 3-118.1 of the Code provided, in part:
"Whenever a certificate of title is issued for a vehicle with respect to which a salvage certificate has been previously issued, the new certificate of title shall bear the initials `S.V.'." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 3-118.1.)
In 1981, Lindsey participated in a scheme designed to "launder" Illinois titles bearing the initials S.V.
The facts are not in dispute. Lindsey repaired and sold used cars through Lindsey Auto Sales and Dean's Hatch & Sunroofs. He purchased six vehicles that had salvage certificates and rebuilt them. He also applied for and received Illinois titles marked S.V. for each car. Lindsey assigned these titles to Missouri car dealers. In five of six cases, the Missouri dealer submitted the Illinois S.V. title to the State of Missouri and obtained a "clean" Missouri title, one not indicating the car had been salvaged. In the other instance, the Missouri dealer reassigned the title to a Kentucky dealer, who obtained a "clean" Kentucky title. The six cars, however, never left Lindsey's possession. The Missouri and Kentucky dealers assigned their out-of-State titles back to Lindsey. Lindsey then resold the automobiles, giving the purchasers "clean" out-of-State titles. Lindsey sold five of the cars to other Illinois used car dealers. He sold the sixth car to his cousin. According to Lindsey, all the purchasers knew the vehicles had been damaged and repaired. In four instances, the purchaser or a subsequent assignee submitted the out-of-State title to the Secretary of State and received an Illinois title without the initials S.V. on it.
In 1982, Lindsey was indicted on six counts of mail fraud for his participation in "laundering" the titles. In a statement to a postal inspector, Lindsey estimated that removing the S.V. notation increased the value of a car $400 to $500. Lindsey also stated he gave the Missouri dealers about $50 per title to obtain the out-of-State titles. Finally, he conceded the deals were only paper transactions designed to circumvent Illinois law. A jury convicted him of the Federal charges, and the Appellate Court for the Seventh Circuit upheld his conviction in United States v. Lindsey (7th Cir. 1984), 736 F.2d 433.
On March 31, 1983, the Secretary of State held a hearing to determine whether Lindsey's licenses should be revoked under section 5-501(a). The relevant portions of that statute are as follows:
"The license of a person issued under this Chapter may be denied, revoked or suspended if the Secretary of State finds that the licensee, * * * has:
2. Made any material misrepresentation to the Secretary of State in connection with an application for a license, junking certificate, salvage certificate, title or registration;
3. Been guilty of a fraudulent act in connection with selling, bartering, exchanging, offering for sale or otherwise dealing in vehicles, bodies and component parts;
12. Violated the provisions of Chapter 4 of this Act, as amended;
13. Violated the provisions of Chapter 3 of this Act, as amended." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ...