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ONLY ON 3: Convicted La Quinta Dealership Owner Back In Business

A News Channel 3 investigation uncovers a man who defrauded millions from a local bank and customers is back in the Desert andis now at anew business.

Dave Stark went to prison in 2004 for fraud. He completed his reduced sentence and sells ball bearings at a business in Palm Desert named “Locate Ball Bearings.”

But, many of his victims, dozens of customers at a La Quinta auto dealership, may never get much of their money back. Is that his fault, or, the fault of the justice system?

When Dave Stark got led away in handcuffs after his 2004 trial, nobody knew where he’d show up again.

He left behind the La Quinta Kia Mazda Superstore guilty of a massive check fraud. He left First Bank in Palm Desert out almost $4 mllion. And, he left behind multiple victims who came to trade in a car, but were left holding damaged credit ratings and enormous bills.

Victims Lori Helm, Charles Canady and Jody Adams told News Channel 3 in 2004,

“We owe almost $9,000 because of fees.” “About $15,000, if not more.” “About $12,000 now.”

Dave Stark recentlybegan selling ball bearings at aPalm Desert business. Eric Leimkuhler, owner of Locate Ball Bearings, stands byDave Stark.

Before that, Stark served 2 of 7 years sentenced on the state inmate fire crews. We went to where Stark is now at, looking for answers.

“I was paid 99 cents an hour and fight fires you see in the hills up there. I put 2 and a half years fighting fires for the state of California. I paid my debt to society and I’m up and running again,” said Stark at his office.

When it comes to debts, the bank received some of its money back after Stark’s car dealership was liquidated. But, the individual victims were at the bottom of the list to get their money back.

Lori Helm told News Channel 3 in 2004, “We thought we went to Kia for a great deal, and instead its been a nightmare.”

Dave Stark says the court appointed receiver is to blame for some victims not getting their money back.

Stark said, “You ought to ask the District Attorney why it was his position to bring in a receiver from Beverly Hills to pay himself $2.2 million before he paid off anybody’s credit cards or cars themselves. It was completely out of my hands. I did everything that Mr. Silverman (the prosecutor) told me to do. I signed my business over, which I did. It was the receiver’s position not to pay these people off, not mine.”

We are still looking to find more of the victims of the 2003 Kia dealership scam. We’d like to hear from you. Send us an email at

KESQ News Team


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