A Connecticut man was sentenced to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for operating two separate fraud schemes, one involving buying and selling cars to dealers.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the first scheme involved the theft of postal money orders. Marc Alexander and others conspired to steal blocks of blank postal money orders from the U.S. Post Office in Old Greenwich. Alexander, his wife Rachael Alexander, and others then imprinted the money orders with various denominations using a computer font designed to make them appear to be authentic.
The Alexanders, Bernard Harris and others then deposited the fraudulently imprinted postal money orders into numerous bank accounts, either at an ATM or at a teller window. Members of the conspiracy then withdrew and used the funds.
At times, members of the conspiracy also used the fraudulently imprinted postal money orders to make payments to other individuals.
The loss from this scheme was $313,570.
The second scheme involved the fraudulent sale of financed vehicles. The Alexanders took straw buyers to various car dealerships and had them fill out financing paperwork to buy high-end cars. Typically, the Alexanders would take the car and the straw buyers would sign a power of attorney form to allow them to obtain a new title for it.
The Alexanders would then contact the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles and claim that the title had been lost and they needed a replacement title. At the DMV, they would present a fake letter from the car financing company stating that the loan had been paid off in full.
After they received a new title, the Alexanders would sell the car to another dealer. The original car loans were not paid and went into default.
The straw buyers financed more than $1 million in fraudulent car loans during the course of this scheme.
Marc Alexander pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from the postal money order scheme, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud stemming from the vehicle scheme.
Rachael Alexander, also known as Rachael Vierling, and Bernard Harris have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
The owners of a group of used-car stores have been criminally charged for their alleged failure to remit taxes to the state.
Amy Lair and Brandi Pierson are accused of underreporting more than $8.29 million in sales at three Indianapolis used-car dealerships. Both defendants have agreed to plead guilty to the charges and to pay $281,346 from seized funds to the State of Indiana for unpaid sales taxes.
Lair has agreed to plead guilty as charged to two Class D felonies. She has agreed to pay $43,538 for unpaid taxes associated with the business Circle City Auto Connection and $118,352 for unpaid taxes associated with the business Circle City Auto Exchange.
Pierson has agreed to plead guilty as charged to one class D felony and to pay $119,455 for unpaid taxes associated with the business Indy Auto Brokers. A total balance of $595,346 is due to the Indiana Department of Revenue for unpaid sales tax.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case, an outside audit was completed for Indy Auto Brokers that highlighted discrepancies in the dealership’s state tax forms. The audit showed more reported sales and tax collected than actual paid taxes. After this audit, it was discovered that Lair and Pierson held ownership over three used car dealerships involved in the alleged failure to remit taxes between 2011 and 2016.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs announced extensive charges against several used-car dealerships that together comprise Queens-based Major World (Major World Español).
The company’s three dealerships and their owners are being charged with using deceptive and illegal practices to profit from low-income and immigrant consumers. DCA’s complaint document alleges numerous violations and wide-ranging consumer harm, and seeks more than $2 million in consumer restitution and fines (approximately $770,000 in restitution and $1.7 million in fines).
DCA is also seeking revocation of the company’s three DCA second-hand auto dealer licenses and the creation of a trust fund for any unidentified consumers who have been harmed. DCA also encourages any consumer who feels Major World lied to them about the price of their car to contact the agency by calling 311, or by filing a complaint at nyc.gov/dca.
DCA’s investigation to-date includes 30 consumers. DCA claims that Major World has been submitting false information on consumers’ credit applications, such as nature of employment, income levels, and monthly rent obligations, in addition to falsely inflating car values.
A Louisiana used-car dealer, who authorities say was also a large-scale narcotics dealer, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Gross Williams had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and five kilograms or more of cocaine, as well as illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Williams was sentenced to 276 months imprisonment on the drug conspiracy and 120 months on the gun charge, to run concurrently. He was also fined $20,000 and placed on 10 years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.
Williams operated a used-car business in Arabi that served as a cover and means of laundering his drug proceeds. Law enforcement officers seized over $425,000 in cash and a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol from Williams’ bedroom during a search, and later discovered another $240,000 in cash in a safe deposit box that Williams’ wife, Kathleen, had opened in her name.
Through a detailed financial investigation, law enforcement was able to show that Williams deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash into the bank accounts of his used-car business despite selling only a few midrange models each year. Kathleen Williams also admitted that she destroyed her husband’s “dope phone” the day that he was arrested. She was sentenced to four years of probation, with the initial nine months to be on house arrest.
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