Target 12 on

‘Con man’ wanted in RI charged with embezzling $30K in Florida


CHIEFLAND, Fla. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket man wanted on warrants in Rhode Island is now in custody on a slew of new charges connected to what a car dealership spokesman called a “Ponzi scheme.”

Marcus Crook, 31, was arrested this week in Florida, according to Levy County Jail records, and is charged with 13 counts including embezzlement and grand theft.

Crook allegedly used a “fake ID and Social Security number” to secure a job as general manager at a Chiefland dealership, according to a spokesman for that company who asked not to be identified by name.

“He was a con man. He put a magic spell on [his co-workers],” the spokesman said. “They were fearful of this guy. He really had them under his spell.”

The spokesman said Crook changed car sales paperwork about two dozen times since he was hired, increasing the value of various trade-ins to cover cash down payments.

“[Crook] kept the cash,” he said.

Chiefland Police Sgt. James Yanok said the investigation is ongoing and more charges against Crook are possible. 

Yanok pegged the amount that was allegedly embezzled at about $30,000 but the dealership spokesperson said he expected that amount could climb.

Plus, he said there are vehicles missing, and several new vehicles that were used by others who did not own them, lowering their value.

Crook has a long criminal record in Rhode Island that includes charges of forgery, counterfeiting, false reporting of a crime, and obtaining money under false pretenses.

One of the active warrants with his name on it involves embezzlement and fraudulent conversion charges from an August 2017 arrest in East Providence.

Yanok said his department determined Crook was named in more than 30 warrants but none were “extraditable.”

Crook made headlines in February when he alleged attorney Robert McNelis involved him in a check fraud scheme.

McNelis was arrested, and those charges remain active.

McNelis’s twin brother Ryan, also an attorney, insisted his brother was not guilty and that the scheme was run by Crook.

“He had access to the building and raided my brother’s office,” McNelis said at the time.

Crook’s bail is currently set at $490,000 in the Florida case.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Download Mobile Apps from WPRI 12
DOWNLOAD APPS NOW: Apple App Store | Google Play Store

12 on 12 - Cold Case Cards: All In

More Cold Case Cards All In
Watch 12 on 12: The Mafia Tapes - Only on

Dan Yorke State of Mind: Dan's Daily Update

DYSOM 8/6/2020: Gina Picard, Superintendent Chariho regional school district

More Dan Yorke State of Mind

Don't Miss

Viewer Pa on

Community Events & Happenings

More Community
Live Cams on

The Border Report Tour

More Border Report Tour