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

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

Scammers allegedly impersonated dealers and collectors to hoodwink victims

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.

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  • John Creel
    February 16, 2019, 3:15 PM

    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…

    REPLY
    • r r@John Creel
      February 18, 2019, 10:35 AM

      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.

      REPLY
  • David LeMieur
    February 16, 2019, 3:52 PM

    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.

    REPLY
  • Rodney Dahlgren
    February 16, 2019, 5:27 PM

    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.

    REPLY
  • Jason Heald
    February 16, 2019, 9:09 PM

    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

    Regards
    Jason
    Sydney

    REPLY
  • Phil Martin
    February 17, 2019, 2:45 AM

    Enthusiasts who allow themselves to be conned by these people is because of one single trait ‘greed!’.

    REPLY