HomeCar CultureCommentaryUS arrests 10 in connection with ‘elaborate’ international classic car scam

US arrests 10 in connection with ‘elaborate’ international classic car scam


Ten people who allegedly operated an “elaborate” international classic car scam were arrested this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has announced.

“As alleged, the defendants used an elaborate network of fictitious classic car dealers and collectors to take their victims for a ride financially,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a news release.

The scam, which ran from January 2016 to December 2018, worked like this: People posing as classic car dealers or collectors claimed to be selling vehicles on well-known auction or trading websites. They would strike a deal with victims for a sale price, including a down payment and shipping costs. Victims were told to wire payment to a transportation company, which was a shell organization.

After the money was wired, the suspects would withdraw the money in varying amounts in an attempt to avoid detection by financial institutions and would send the funds to Eastern Europe.

“Victims of this fraud not only believed they were getting what they paid for, they were often stuck paying for the classic automobiles they never received,” FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney Jr. said in the release.

Arrests were made in the United States, Finland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Anyone who feels they may have been a victim of this scam were asked to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York at 866-874-8900.

Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.


  1. I was asked simply to send a person my address only..No money or shipping cost.He said that he would ship the car to me C.O.D. and if I did not like it he would have it shipped to his future home in U.S…somwhere.He was e-mailing me from Europe.I almost went for it because the price of the car was redicdculous Low..At any rate maybe somone could tell me how I would be scammed if all they wanted was my address to send the car to…

    • Easy – one of 2 ways – if its a foreigner – an "issue" arises and they need $1000 to clear customs. Domestic, some guy comes to your house and robs it.

  2. It is people like this that really ruin the market because it makes people so apprehensive about dealing with anyone to ether sell or purchase a Classic car, and it is hard enough to gain peoples trust and confidence in this market.

  3. I have seen so MANY of these deals offered and tried hard to flush them out. I have many contacts across the pond that ask me to help them with a purchase which can be a "good one" or very bad.

  4. I have been collecting classic cars in the USA since 1990
    In the old days it was the old school way the recycler papers in the gas stations and you phone from a pay phone go see the car pay them and drive off in the car
    No hassles no scammers just honest people you never met before

    Now these guys
    I had an experience 6 months ago

    I emailed Re a 356 Porsche for sale on classic cars yes this website

    Same reply to send $ as the 356 is at a shipping place and send the money and they ship the car all ready to go
    Even emailed me a Title
    I emailed back and said send me your cell number
    An email came back with all Details so I phoned
    The person acted like a real classic car guy
    I said please email me the address and best time for my friend to visit as he lives in your city
    ( I always have someone I know check out the cars in person and on 1st visit with no money on them )

    Then I phone them again
    The scammer obviously received my email as they screened my calls and never responded to my emails after that
    Always always have someone or yourself check out the car in person
    Never take money with you as also a chance you will get robbed


  5. Why can we not share this information on social media ( ie; twitter, facebook, reddit etc. ) this would not be plagiarism as it would be more informational and help to control crime like this. Not all articles however only those that deal with crime in the automobile world. PLEASE!


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