Former Florence car dealer sentenced to prison for cheating investors

(WPDE file image of Rex Matthews from May 2016)

A federal judge sentenced Rex Matthews to 46 months in prison in connection with cheating banks and investors involved with his car dealership in Florence from 2006-2012.

Matthews was indicted by a federal grand jury in April of 2015 in connection with a scheme at his former business, Carolina Cars LLC in Florence. Matthews pleaded guilty in May of 2017.

A 78-year-old Florence County man spoke during Matthews' sentencing hearing. The man told the judge he invested $180,000 in Matthews' car business.

He added Matthews gave him titles as collateral knowing the titles were no good.

The 78-year-old talked with ABC15, but didn't want his name released.

"That's Rex, one of the slickest guys in the world, and then he came to my house and wanted to borrow the forged titles that weren't worth the paper they were printed on," the man said.

He added the money he invested was his retirement.

"I don't have retirement money. That was my plan."

Federal prosecutors said Matthews' promised investors they would receive 12 percent interest for their investment.

Matthews apologized during his hearing saying he didn't get into the car business to defraud and hurt people. He added his intentions were good.

EARLIER STORY: Former Florence car dealer says he's not guilty of swindling banks, investors

The judge said what Matthews did to his investors was evil because they trusted him to wisely spend their money.

Matthews' will remain free on a $30,000 bond. He'll report too the Federal Bureau of Prisons in about 60 days to begin serving his sentence.

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