Former finance manager at Century III Chevrolet charged with stealing to support gambling

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The former finance manager of a well-known Mon Valley car dealership has been charged with theft after prosecutors said he diverted tens of thousands of customer down payments to pay for his gambling addiction.

Robert F. Heiser, 28, of Bethel Park is accused of channeling nearly $37,000 from Century III Chevrolet in West Mifflin into his own bank account or outright spending it at Rivers Casino, according to the Allegheny County district attorney’s office. He also is charged with receiving stolen property.

Mr. Heiser placed $34,343.90 in customers' vehicle down payments into his account and used $2,587.90 at the casino, according to a criminal complaint.

One customer told investigators that Mr. Heiser told him to leave payee line blank on his down payment check because he planned to use a stamp with the dealership's name.

Mr. Heiser wrote his name on the line instead and deposited the checks into his bank account, according to the complaint.

Detectives wrote that Mr. Heiser admitted to the thefts and told West Mifflin police he stole the money over 16 months to fund his gambling habit. Casino records obtained by the DA’s office show he lost more than $175,000 from August 2009 through Oct. 14 of this year.

Mr. Heiser has been released on $35,000 unsecured bond and is scheduled for a Nov. 14 preliminary hearing. He could not be reached and an attorney was not listed in online court records.

Molly Born: or 412-263-1944. Twitter: @borntolede.

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