The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2016.
While Honda Accords and Civics dominate this annual list, they are older, pre-smart-key production models. Since the introduction of smart keys and other anti-theft technology, Honda thefts have seen major declines. As the list of top 25 most stolen 2016 model year vehicles shows, there were only 493 thefts of Accords last year.
A Louisiana woman pleaded guilty to buying several cars with fraudulent checks.
Maria Spears, a/k/a Maria Baquedano, admitted to defrauding Gulf Coast Bank in connection with writing fraudulent checks and pleaded to bank larceny.
According to court documents, Spears opened a checking account at Gulf Coast, which was then closed in 2011 and contained no funds.
From June 2015 to March 2016, Spears wrote approximately $357,000 in bad checks. Each time a check was presented, the bank declined to release the funds as the account had been closed since 2011.
On Dec. 12, 2015, Spears purchased a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette from an unnamed dealer with a check for $80,390.29 from the closed account.
On March 5, 2016, she purchased a 2016 Nissan GTR from another dealer with a check for $130,675 from the closed account.
On March 21, 2016, Spears purchased a 2016 Cadillac Escalade Premium from a third dealer with a check for $97,590.75 from the closed account.
On March 26, 2016, Spears purchased a 2016 Nissan 370Z from a fourth dealer with a check for $44,000 from the closed account.
She also used a check from the closed account to purchase $5,000 worth of real estate.
Spears faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt set sentencing for Oct 25, 2017.
Spears was on supervised release for another federal offense when she committed this crime. On Dec. 6, 2012, Spears was sentenced to serve 21 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for wire fraud. She was ordered to pay $176,267.96 in restitution and was placed on three years supervised release.
A former car dealer was ordered to pay more than double his original fines for not complying with the terms and conditions of a consent judgment he entered into with the local district attorney.
At the end of 2016, Justin Blevins and his company, Blevins Auto Group LLC of Wichita, Kansas, entered into an agreement with the Sedgwick County District Attorney to remedy over 20 used-car sales. The District Attorney alleged that Blevins failed to disclose to 21 consumers that he could not provide legal title for the car they purchased.
As part of the consent judgment Blevins waived any claim of ownership of the 21 vehicles and agreed to pay a fine, court costs, and investigative fees by Jan. 27.
A judge increased the fine June 23 after Blevins failed to make the court ordered payments.
The former general manager of a New Jersey Chevrolet dealership was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud a bank and for filing a fraudulent tax return.
Richard T. Pepe previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of fraud and false statements on his 2008 U.S. tax return.
According to court documents, Pepe and others acting on his behalf defrauded M&T Bank of almost $3 million from 2004 through October 2008.
Pepe, acting as general manager of Chevrolet 73, received funds from M&T intended for floor planning by providing phony information to the bank, including false liabilities and profits on Chevrolet 73’s monthly financial statements. Pepe then used that money for personal expenses.
Pepe also admitted falsely claiming that his income was $36,628 on his 2008 individual tax return when he knew his actual income exceeded that amount.
In addition to the prison term, Pepe was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay forfeiture in the amount of nearly $3 million.