Investigative reporter Jeff Chirico took a blow to the chin while investigating a businessman charged with stealing customers’ tax refunds.
A CBS Atlanta News undercover investigation found Richard Wilder, 43, of Braselton, operating a new business in Gainesville weeks after he was arrested by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in September.
Wilder, who used to operate Braselton Used Auto Sales, was charged with seven counts of theft by deception and one count of racketeering for allegedly depositing customers’ tax refund checks into an account and keeping the money.
Court records show Wilder was indicted in Gwinnett County for odometer fraud, forgery, computer theft and more in 2009 and 2010. He pleaded to two felony charges in 2011.
The Georgia secretary of state issued a cease and desist order against Wilder for running a used auto dealership without a license. But that didn’t seem to stop Wilder or his family, who moved their business to Braselton and then to Gainesville.
An CBS Atlanta undercover producer found Wilder selling cars and offering to complete his tax return at EZ Auto Sales at 1608 Atlanta Rd. in Gainesville.
According to the secretary of state’s website, Wilder is not licensed to sell used cars in Georgia.
Wilder would not answer Chirico’s questions about his business.
Shortly after questioning Wilder, Chirico was approached by a man who called himself Donald Wilder, Richard Wilder’s father.
As Chirico asked him questions about the business, Donald Wilder turned and punched Chirico in the chin, knocking him to the ground.
Chirico was not seriously injured.
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