Luxury Car Fraud Scheme Busted By Undercover Agents
Consumers buying cars could face tremendous potential for financial loss if something goes wrong with a vehicle purchase transaction. Car buyers benefit from some consumer protection in specific cases, such as protections provided by California’s lemon laws. Still, there are many situations in which car buyers end up losing out on their hard-earned money because of dishonest car manufacturers and unscrupulous car dealers.
Just recently, NBC San Diego reported on yet another fraud scheme within the car buying industry. The luxury car scheme was identified by undercover agents and the perpetrator of the fraud against consumers was charged. This was just one of many examples where a car sales scam could cause unsuspecting buyers to get hurt.
Undercover Agents Put an End to Luxury Car Fraud Scam
According to NBC San Diego, a man was perpetrating a fraud scam by using his girlfriend's credit card to purchase eight luxury vehicles. After buying the cars, he “washed the titles,” which means that he altered the titles in order to fraudulently remove information about the lien holders of the cars on the title documents.
The man reportedly hid the eight different vehicles on cul-de-sacs in various neighborhoods. The cars blended in within the neighborhoods with no reason for anyone to suspect that anything was amiss. However, his goal was to sell the stolen cars to buyers across the country. These buyers would purchase the cars and pay him money without realizing that there were liens on the vehicles and that the cars they were buying had not been paid for.
The cars that the man intended to sell to buyers included five different 2016 Jeep Rubicons, as well as two Land Rovers, a 2013 Mercedes AMG, and a Maserati. Altogether, there were around half-a-million dollars’ worth of vehicles that were seized by the undercover agents who discovered the attempt to scam car buyers.
Investigators provided information to NBC San Diego that car buyers can use to try to avoid scams like this one. Buyers are urged to look carefully at car titles for signs that fraud has occurred. Evidence of fraud can include the appearance of faded ink on the title, numbers and words that are printed on top of other numbers and words, and numbers and words that appear to be crooked. If the car brand new with limited mileage and there is no lien holder listed on the title, this is also a red flag since it is rare for someone to buy a luxury car with cash and then turn around and sell it right away.
Consumers who are buying cars need to do their research carefully to try to avoid becoming the victim of a scam. It is also a good idea for car purchasers to know the extent of coverage and the limitations of common consumer protection laws like the lemon law. A San Diego lemon law attorney at The Bickel Law Firm can provide guidance to those consumers who have experienced losses and who are interested in exploring whether any legal recourse is available to them.