Florida Identifies Dealer Fraud Scheme

By Staff Writer July 20, 2020
 Auto Sports of South Florida was involved in a complex fraud scheme spanning seven Florida counties. Auto Sports of South Florida was involved in a complex fraud scheme spanning seven Florida counties.

Florida law enforcement officials arrested five suspects, with two more pending, in connection with a new-car dealership’s complex fraud scheme.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, in coordination with the Florida Highway Patrol, reported that they identified a criminal enterprise operating out of Auto Sports of South Florida, a dealership in Broward County and Osceola County.

Investigators established that suspects were fraudulently taking possession of vehicles and applying for duplicate titles by using fictitious documents and methods.

“These scammers fraudulently took possession of vehicles and created fake documents to obtain titles, all to make a dishonest dollar at the expense of consumers,” Moody said. “I’m proud to have my office partner with local law enforcement to take these criminals down.”

According to the multi-agency investigation, members of the criminal organization submitted documents, including fraudulent power of attorney documents, to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles making it appear as though the financing for the fraudulently obtained vehicles was paid in full and the loans satisfied.

The investigation revealed that the fraudulent documents allowed members of the group to obtain duplicate titles to the cars. Because the duplicate titles appeared legitimate, the members of the criminal organization, including the owner of Auto Sports of South Florida, were able to sell the cars to others, including good faith purchasers for a large profit. The investigation took place over a span of 12 months and involved seven Florida counties.

The suspects, David Cruz, Janine Eid, Nickelson Fervil, Pedro Negret, Nigil Parker, Mark Solomon and Reynold Vergara, are charged with 51 counts of offenses that include racketeering, grand theft, identity theft, money laundering and insurance fraud. Cruz, Eid, Fervil, Parker and Solomon were all arrested. Arrest warrants for Negret and Vergara are pending at press time.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years in prison for each of the numerous first-degree felonies charged.

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Last modified on Monday, 27 July 2020 12:04