A Texas car dealership is the victim of an imposter scam that targeted Canadian consumers looking to buy luxury vehicles.
The Better Business Bureau received a tip in February from a Canadian consumer who said a con artist had set up a fake website using a Waco store’s name and was scamming Canadians out of thousands of dollars by promising the sale and delivery of luxury vehicles. According to the tipster, who wished to remain anonymous, he was lured into the scam when he answered an ad selling a 2013 Mercedes Benz on the autotrader.ca website.
As a result, BBB contacted Hillside Auto Sales Inc. and spoke to owner Toby Hill. Hill told BBB he too had received several calls from Canadian consumers.
According to the tipster and Hill, the man posing as Hillside Auto Sales goes by the name of Henry Lopez. BBB asked Hill if his company employed anyone with that name, and Hill said they did not.
Hill also confirmed his dealership does not sell any high-end vehicles.
The tipster told BBB after answering the ad online, Lopez emailed him, claiming to be the dealership’s manager. The email directed the tipster to wire more than $30,000, and the Mercedes would be delivered.
BBB also received two complaints from consumers in Canada alleging similar stories.
The El Paso, Texas, police department’s financial crimes unit has arrested and charged seven individuals in an elaborate fraud scheme conducted by associates and former employees of Fox Toyota.
In May 2016 El Paso police were notified about two missing vehicles from Fox Toyota. Financial crimes investigators began an investigation, which ultimately revealed that Fox Toyota associates and former employees were working together in several criminal incidents.
Employees were working together in a tire theft scheme, using Fox vehicles illegally, overbilling vendors, insurance schemes, and hiding information of their illegal enterprise from Fox Toyota management.
As a result of the investigation Mark Alvarez, Cesar Valdiviez and Albert Vargas were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity theft. Miguel Silva and Carlos Velasquez were charged with unauthorized use of motor vehicles.
Luis Silva was charged with misapplication of fiduciary property. Federico Gutierrez was charged with theft by forgery.
The investigation is continuing.
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 owners of a buy-here, pay-here operation in Louisiana recently pleaded guilty to laundering money for drug dealers.William Paul Boyter, Michael Paul Boyter and Anthony Reuben Riley, all of Shreveport,...