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.