Detectives with the Fresno H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) Task Force have arrested 56 year old Christopher Michael Asher of Fresno.
On March 30th, he was booked into the Fresno County Jail on numerous charges related to auto theft and forgery. His bail was set at $117,000. He has since posted bond and been released from jail with a court hearing scheduled for May 19th.
Detectives began this investigation in August 2022. This after learning a Huntington Beach car dealer was searching for one of its vehicles in the Fresno area that was listed as stolen. HEAT detectives determined the Huntington Beach dealer originally sold this vehicle to Christopher Asher for a $58,000. Asher presented himself as the general manager of Artanis Automotive, located at 5494 E. Lamona Ave. in Fresno. Since Artanis had a valid licensed dealer number, the Huntington Beach business finalized the transaction by sending the vehicle to Fresno. However, the check Asher sent to Huntington Beach bounced when the business tried cashing it.
Detectives found the vehicle in Fresno and contacted the man driving it. He explained he obtained the vehicle from Christopher Asher after giving him a down payment of $12,000. Asher helped him finance the remaining amount through a company called Anchored Finance. Detectives quickly discovered this man and the finance company were victims of a scam Christopher Asher had constructed.
Due to Asher being a previously convicted felon, he was not eligible to have a car dealer / broker license. However, he was able to obtain a license by forging documents, using the personal information of one of his acquaintances who had a clean record.
On March 30th, detectives served a search warrant at Asher’s home of the 1000 block of E. Wathen Ave. in Fresno. There they collected evidence and arrested Asher.
Detectives have located additional victims who were scammed and investigations into those cases are taking place.
We in law enforcement want to inform the public of Asher’s illegal activity because there is a good chance there are more victims out there who have dealt with Asher and do not realize they have been taken advantage of or never filed a police report.
If you or someone you know are potential victims, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-3111 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867, www.valleycrimestoppers.org You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Reference HEAT / CHP case number F146-412-23.
***HEAT is comprised of members from the California Highway Patrol, Fresno County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles and Clovis Police Department.