Former Mid-West Choppers Owner Chip Miyler Guilty Of Fraud

miylerChip Miyler and his wife were until October 14, 2005 the owners of Mid-West Choppers in Illinois, at which time they filed for both business and personal bankruptcy. According the filing, the business had liabilities of $2,315,325 and assets of $635,382. Personally, the couple had $1,633,221 in liabilities and $345,287 in assets.

As I related in a former POST, chip Miyler was immediately accused of taking money from about 25 clients, in the US and abroad, in exchange for down payments on custom motorcycles he promised to build. These custom bikes were never built and the money was used by himself & his wife for personal profit. Chip Miyler was also accused of applying for a bank loan offering as collateral motorcycles already sold to customers. Instead of going to trial where he would have faced 30 years in jail for each count of indictment, Chip Miyler pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Peoria to a single count of mail fraud. He will be sentenced on September 10th and is facing up to 30 years for this single charge.

27 Responses to “Former Mid-West Choppers Owner Chip Miyler Guilty Of Fraud”

  1. 1 Paul Homer May 28th, 2009 at 7:00 pm


  2. 2 Kirk Perry May 28th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    “Mfgrs. Repop Opportunity”
    This is the name of my next post. May be posted right here, May have it’s own topic heading.
    Custom Motorcycle Manufacturer’s take note. IMO, if you have current Mrgrs. Liability & meet MSO requirements your company may be in the perfect position to take advantage of what I can not. I can be of valuable consultation and production assistance, though I am retired and have an income ceiling, before I have to find ways to donate consultant-fees back into the foundation “system”, and avoid giving 1/2 of my 1099 income to the government. That would defeat the repop industry “purpose” entirely.
    Please stay tuned. I don’t respond to lip-flack, but I do expect the current lot of custom bike manufacturers to try and knock the “business support columns” out of my ideas”, or they ought to be riding Flatheads instead of Big Twins. 🙂 snicker.

  3. 3 Bradley K May 28th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    It was just a matter of time.

  4. 4 kody wisner May 29th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    He deserves more than 30 years for what he did.

  5. 5 Me Again May 29th, 2009 at 8:38 am

    During years i heard that several 2nd and 3rd rank custom builders did this on a smaller scale, using deposits of some clients to finish the bikes of others. It worked for some beause there was always new clients coming with deposits. Then, at the end of 2005 the industry goes down the tube. No more deposits = bikes never started or never finished. As I heard, some closed their business very, very fast and were able to escape the fraud charges. Some others, like Chip Miyler will not. Will not be surprised to read about some other scams of the same nature in the near future.

  6. 6 choppertom May 29th, 2009 at 8:56 am

    it’s good to see people getting caught for scams & frauds……but politicians get away with it on a regular basis. I DON’T GET IT!

  7. 7 Brandon May 29th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Let’s clean the industry. Too many crooks.

  8. 8 Jeff Nicklus May 29th, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Chip made a hell of a deal … mail fraud ….. that is what the Feds stick you with when they can’t get you on anything else. I will be surprised if he gets 2 years in jail and a fine ( the Feds always give you a fine!)….. more than likely he will get 5 years probation and a fine …. that way he can be free to start another motorcycle company and abuse the “Trust Fund Money” of his customers again! Just my opinion.

    Over & Out,


  9. 9 Grayhawk May 29th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    EYES WIDE OPEN, always do your own homework on the builder if not shame on you, cheap is hardly ever better and that is not just for a build up or especially for a one off as one off and cheap do not go hand in hand.

    If its a start up builder you probably should build your own for every reason I could list here and the satisfaction of self accomplishment is hard to beat. You can learn cheaper on your own then pay for someone else’s on the job training.

    If your not mechanical at all buy from an established company with roots, good track record, no known issues circulating around , close in actual physical location to you so you could monitor progress, etc., etc..

    The Business has to stand behind what they sell and have a history of same and their warranty program must be backed and in good standing, bike built must be insurable and have resale value listings, no special construction or assembled titles unless your doing it yourself and the list goes on and on.

    Use your gut feeling; if its a boistrous, slick, bullshit, or has to be done now sales pitch you should pass, common sense should always take precident over hunger or desire for; no spontantious purchases. Good luck, money is hard to come buy spend it wisely.


  10. 10 Road12 May 29th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Jeff is right on the charge. If mail fraud is what he gets, he won’t spend too much time in jail.
    However I don’t think he will come back to the industry. He’s done. Doesn’t mean he can come up with new ideas to get money from people… cars, boats and whatever else.
    Botton line is that the people who lost their bike and money won’t see anything back.

  11. 11 Jeff Nicklus May 29th, 2009 at 12:53 pm


    The Judge should make it a term of any sentence that he makes full restitution to every customer who lost a dime in trust fund moneys. The problem with that is he has not been convicted of fraud of trust monies … only mail fraud. Just a heads up for those of you out there that are not familiar with Mail Fraud … Have you ever applied for a credit card via mail and maybe “fudged” your monthly income or the length of time at your current address on the application? That my friend is Mail Fraud!

    Over & Out,


  12. 12 Brandon May 29th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Hope he gets the 30 years.

  13. 13 Scary May 29th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Well, what goes around comes around. The Feds appear to be on a roll…the same thing is currently happening to Eastside Custom Choppers in Newburgh NY. It appears that they are being nailed for insurance fraud and selling stolen parts. Don’t have all of the details but based on ECCs reputation (if you want to call it that), it’s only more of the same that they have been doing for years……taking money from customers for new builds only to use the $$$ to finish up old builds. Apparently, they defrauded an insurance company on repairs and then put a stolen engine in the same bike to replace what they said was bad from the accident. So far, their homes, new building and family business have foreclosures against them.
    As with Miyler, the Torres’s are finally being nailed and are going to pay big time. It looks like Orange County Choppers will have one less competitor in their backyard……..but whose counting.

  14. 14 Wood May 29th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Scary, where are you obtaining that information about Eastside? If possible, post a link to support your statements.

  15. 15 Me Again May 29th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I know some names. Some well known names with complaints/lawsuits being filed for the same kind of fraud. I am sure Cyril knows who but I guess he will not report here until there are some indictments.

  16. 16 nicker May 29th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    The real tragedy here is the customers who lost the ability to buy a bike from a reputable business.
    I doubt they will be coming back for another bike anytime soon.
    This guy not only robbed them, he robbed you as well.

    It’s doubtful that Jail-time will accomplish much.
    But some type of restitution process might.
    It sets an example, it’s painful, and it might put some of those burned customers back into the market.

    IMHO anyway.

  17. 17 jspfc May 29th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Nicker you hit the nail on the head. This is bad for the custom industry all together. Never a good thing to have customers lose their confidence/trust in you.

  18. 18 Jeff Nicklus May 29th, 2009 at 3:42 pm


    As always you have hit the nail on the head!

    We as manufacturers have worked hard for 15-16 years now to take customers away from HD and others only to have a few “Idiots”, with the help of some greedy magazine publishers selling full page ads and touting these guys as the second coming of Christ, come along and screw the bed sheets off of these trusting souls know as customers.

    What is the old saying: “A satisfied customer will tell one person while a dis-satisfied customer will tell one hundred people.”

    I have always, and still do today, taken $$$ up front on orders ….. the difference here is we put those Trust Fund monies in a separate account and we do not use any of that money to build a bike. Only after we receive the final payment on the account AND the bike is delivered to the client do we transfer the funds from the trust account. No chance of legal problems that way!

    Me Again,

    Yes, I have heard there are several other “well known names” in the industry who may have some serious legal problems working as we speak!

    Over & Out,


  19. 19 Garcia May 29th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Many have played this dirty game during the good motorcycle years. So, imagine now…Many builders are victims of their ego, building dream bikes to show off in shows and magazines using money from other clients. Jeff is right. Magazines are partly responsible for flattering these builders with titles and pushing their ego. It is fraud to finance with OPM (other people money). Most people in the industry were living well beyond their means. And now we see the result. .

  20. 20 Rod Marshall May 29th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Who’s next?

  21. 21 David May 30th, 2009 at 12:44 am

    What the Hell the govt. will probably bail them out and the tax payers will get to bend over again.

  22. 22 jatinder pal May 30th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Surely he deserves punishment,cause money too hard to earn easy to scam….

  23. 23 Kenny Price Jun 1st, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    you reap what you sow

  24. 24 MM Billetworks Jun 1st, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Originally there were over 40 people scammed by him I believe? If I recall correctly, he was taking deposits for bike builds right up to the day before he declared bankruptcy?

    The charge of mail fraud appears unjust as there should have been additional / harsher charges levied against him.

  25. 25 jeff Jun 19th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    How unfortunate for the US and overseas customers to be taken advantage of by a downright crook. There but for the grace of God go I…I bought a 40k custom built chopper from American Performance Cycles in late 2005. Had no end of oil presuure troubles with it until I was so fed up I sent it back to APC in Las Vegas in Spring of 2008. Long story but crux of it was that entire industry was going down at that period, builders and part suppliers alike, and I couldn’t raise a response from the Owner of APC. When I heard they were ‘downsizing’ and moving to smaller digs, I got serious about getting my bike back to avoid its disposition in the coming crash. I sicced the BBB (poweless), consumer affairs (innocous), licensing and reugulation (forceful) and uktimately, the LV police on a charge of theft.. The Owner finally contacted me (was in the hospita; with eye injury duw to hot molten metal, yada, yada) and agreed to ship bike back – which he did in Sep 2008 (with all issues more or less corrected)…shortly thereafter APC went down and its remaining stock bought by Ness.

  26. 26 PartsGuy Jun 19th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Welcome to Chapter Seven in the history of motorcycles.

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Cyril Huze