Miami Car Dealers Fall Victim to Their Own Sales Practices

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Posted on October 15, 2012 by Dana Manner

After a year-long investigation into auto fraud by the Florida Department of    Law Enforcement, 9 suspects (including a Miami Beach police officer) were  arrested last month on September 7, 2012   related to a scheme to  defraud Miami-area car dealers, for nearly a half-million dollars.

George Robert Navarro, 26, a Miami Beach police officer, was charged with racketeering, fraud and unlawful subleasing of motor vehicles, false statements and official misconduct. Navarro has been suspended by the police department. One suspect, Shannon A. Reid, age 56 of Boca Raton remained at large. Investigators say the scheme used to defraud the car dealers and financial institutions involved providing false credit information to obtain loans that were not repaid.

Several Miami dealers fell victim to the group of fraudsters, which  included a tag agency clerk Alexandra Olivera of Hialeah. FDLE investigator Victor Johnson said the persons charged allegedly were “straw buyers” buying cars using other people’s credit information. Johnson said the financial institutions and car dealerships are the victims in the alleged scheme, which involved $500,000 or more in cars and loans. The suspects were charged with racketeering, conspiracy, unlawful subleasing of motor vehicles, communications fraud, title fraud and false statements.

The case is being prosecuted by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, and court records show that Alexandra Olivera, the tag agency clerk alleged to be part of the fraud ring, was arraigned today in Miami-Dade County in front of Judge Victoria Brennan, facing 14 felony counts (Case:  F-12-022290-B).

DEALER’S OWN YO-YO SALE SCAM BACK-FIRES? – It appears that one of the schemes involved the fraudsters taking advantage of the dealer’s use of the “spot-delivery” or “Yo-Yo sale” scam where dealers let a buyer take a car home before the financing is finalized so that the customer does not go shopping at another dealer for a better deal. It appears that the fraudsters exploited the dealer’s greed to quickly close a juicy deal based upon falsified credit applications of straw buyers, which allowed the fraudsters to rip-off the dealers and lenders by taking the cars off the lot. In other instances phantom cars were financed and titles and DMV paperwork was obtained with the assistance of their “mole” inside the tag agency.

Broward County residents charged were:

  • Todd Javon Smith Jr., 29, of Pembroke Pines
  • Shanovia Maria Smith, 26, of Pembroke Pines
  • Nicholi O’Neil Smith, 37, of Miramar
  • Francis Elizabeth Hannan, 49, of Lauderhill
  • James M. Paul, 35, of Sunrise.

Miami-Dade residents charged were:

  • Tomas Manrique, 51
  • Dennis Esther Matos Torres, 42
  • Alexandra Olivera, 25
  • George Robert Navarro, 26

 

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