Connellsville auto shop, customers charged in alleged unemployment scheme

CONNELLSVILLE, PA — Workers and customers at a Fayette County auto shop are facing criminal charges for their alleged role in an elaborate unemployment scheme.

During a news conference Tuesday, investigators announced the results of a two-year investigation centered on Red Carpet Auto Sales in Connellsville.

Owner Joshua Dewitt and employee Terry Newmeyer are accused of helping people fraudulently sign up for government assistance funds, so those individuals could then purchase cars from the shop.

“In some cases, these funds were used to purchase vehicles, in other cases, some of the individuals just paid a $500 fee for assistance in receiving these funds,” said Pennsylvania State Police Public Information Officer Forrest Allison.

In total, investigators say the scheme netted $311,301 in Pennsylvania Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds and $32,300 from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Dewitt’s girlfriend, Allison Kalp, is also facing charges, along with eight other alleged recipients. Investigators believe there are more recipients out there, and urge anyone with information to come forward.

Channel 11 visited the shop, which is still open, following Tuesday’s press conference. An employee at the store claimed to have no knowledge of the situation and declined to comment.