Are you thinking about expanding an existing auto related business such as car repair, car detail shop, tire sales, etc.? Remember, if customers already like you for your service you have their trust and selling or brokering cars to them is a natural bridge in the car selling business.
Curbstone task force breaks up fraudulent dealer scheme in East Valley
ADOT, Department of Revenue partnership takes down large operation
February 26, 2020
PHOENIX – Working to protect people around the country from fraud involving used cars, state investigators have broken up a major criminal operation based in the East Valley that illegally produced tens of thousands of titles for vehicles being sold in 42 states.
With seven arrests made on Wednesday, Feb. 19, this is by far the largest operation broken up since Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation in 2018 creating the Arizona Curbstone Enforcement Joint Task Force, which combines the resources of ADOT’s Office of Inspector General, Arizona Department of Revenue and Arizona Independent Automobile Dealers Association. This task force combats vehicle sales made in violation of state laws governing dealer licensing, a practice known as curbstoning.
“Our partnership with the Department of Revenue was invaluable by bringing their investigators in to assist,” said Lt. James Warriner with ADOT’s Office of Inspector General, part of the agency’s Enforcement and Compliance Division. “Together, our agencies are delivering a one-two punch to stop curbstoning and illegal vehicle sales in Arizona.”
The case involves a scheme in which individuals allegedly subscribed to one of several websites identified by investigators to obtain wholesale and retail dealer license credentials from the suspects, rather than the state, for a monthly fee, usually in the hundreds of dollars. These credentials allowed about 1,500 individuals to attend and bid on vehicles at wholesale auctions in their states.
The operation also altered vehicle titles from these subscribers for about $100 per title to make it appear as though the individuals bought the vehicles from one of the suspects’ 31 operations with dealer licenses. More than 31,000 titles were processed this way over the past couple of years, and many of the vehicles involved were never in Arizona.
The operation has generated around $7 million fraudulently over the past couple of years.
ADOT detectives and Department of Revenue investigators, joined by special agents with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, served search warrants at six locations last week, including homes in Chandler and Gilbert and at a storefront in Mesa, arresting the suspects and searching for further evidence. Each suspect is facing multiple charges, including the felonies of fraudulent schemes and artifices, money laundering and tax evasion.
Curbstoning involves selling vehicles in a way that violates the parameters set by a dealer’s license. That could mean selling more than six vehicles in a consecutive 12-month period for an unlicensed dealer, or selling vehicles away from the designated area of sale for a licensed dealer.
In this case, licensed dealers are accused of illegally consigning their licenses out to other individuals in other states, allowing those individuals to bypass paying taxes, registration fees and laws regarding vehicle dealers.
Curbstoned vehicles typically involve other violations such as title fraud, odometer fraud and covered-up flood damage. Consumers in the market for used vehicles should do their homework before handing over any money.
When dealing with cases of curbstoning, ADOT detectives will share case information with Department of Revenue investigators and even bring them along to check out curbstoning sites.
In addition to fraud by licensed and unlicensed dealers, detectives with ADOT’s Office of Inspector General investigate identity theft, fraud involving vehicle title and registration, and support investigations by state, local and federal law enforcement.
All California vehicle dealer applicants must take a mandatory six-hour course training as mandated by the Department of Motor Vehicles before obtaining a vehicle dealer license. We conduct the courses throughout California. The fee for our new dealer course is:
$250 – scheduled classes AND $350 – for our private classes.
TriStar dealer training is an excellent alternative to most new dealer programs, as we are retired training officers, licensed DMV dealers/brokers/registration agents/verification agents and never in the business of selling you dealer products.
The goal of each session is to provide comprehensive training in an easy to read and follow format. As our dealer licence student you will be shown the required materials in our handbook, with an in-depth explanation of each required topic.
We offer training beyond expectation as currently licensed retail dealers/brokers.
At anytime, if you have questions or need help you may call us toll free at: 800-901-5950.
(e) Fail to sell a vehicle to a person at the advertised total price, exclusive of taxes, vehicle registration fees, the California tire fee, the fee charged by the state for the issuance of a certificate of compliance or noncompliance pursuant to a statute, finance charges, mobile home escrow fees, the amount of a city, county, or city and county imposed fee or tax for a mobilehome, a dealer document processing charge, an electronic registration or transfer charge, and a charge for emission testing not to exceed fifty dollars ($50) plus the actual fees charged for certificates pursuant to Section 44060 of the Health and Safety Code , while the vehicle remains unsold, unless the advertisement states the advertised total price is good only for a specified time and the time has elapsed. Advertised vehicles shall be sold at or below the advertised total price, with statutorily permitted exclusions, regardless of whether the purchaser has knowledge of the advertised total price.
Senegalese National Admits Impersonating Deceased U.S. Citizen Since 1988
California DMV Investigations Division assisted with investigation
SAN DIEGO – On September 12, 2019, Almamy Baba Ly, of La Mesa, pleaded guilty in federal court to identity theft charges, admitting that he misused the identity of a deceased American citizen for 31 years in order to obtain identification documents, as well as thousands of dollars in federal, state and local government benefits.
Ly acknowledged that in 1988 he assumed the identity of Lyle Lindsey, a native San Diegan and son of a military veteran, who died in a tragic automobile accident as a toddler in 1957. Ly admitted that he was born in Senegal, that he was without legal status to reside in the United States, and that he used an altered copy of the deceased toddler’s birth certificate to apply first for a Social Security number and then for a California Identification Card and Driver License. Over the next 31 years, Ly was convicted of numerous crimes, including drug sales and robbery, under Lyle Lindsey’s identity.
Ly also pleaded guilty to receiving stolen public money, admitting that from 2012 until 2019, he used Lindsey’s identity to apply for and receive more than $80,000 in federal student loans and Pell Grants. In his plea agreement, Ly also admitted to applying for CalFresh / Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in 2017 as Lindsey, and to thereafter receiving thousands of dollars in benefits that he was not legally entitled to receive.
“This despicable lawbreaker is why some have so little faith in government programs designed to assist those in need. It is unfortunate that fraud is present in these programs, but fortunately we have investigators, including California DMV investigators who can sift through data and information and track down the abusers and fraudulent individuals,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.
In July 2019, United States Border Patrol agents simultaneously served a search warrant and arrested Ly at his residence in La Mesa. During the search, agents seized a recently issued Senegalese national identification card with Ly’s true name and date of birth. The arrest and search warrant were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the United States Border Patrol, with the assistance of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of State, and the United States Embassy and Homeland Security Investigations in Dakar, Senegal.
“This was an especially sophisticated and devious fraud that victimized U.S. taxpayers for decades and forced a family to revisit a traumatic loss,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “Finding out that someone is committing crimes in the name of a child who was lost many years ago brings unacceptable anxiety to his survivors. Identity thieves target hundreds of thousands of deceased Americans every year, but I’m proud to say that because of the efforts of federal agents and prosecutor Jeffrey Hill, one of the most egregious and enduring violators has been stopped.”
As a part of his plea agreement, Ly agreed to make full restitution to the United States Department of Education and to the County of San Diego for the $88,551 in government benefits that he fraudulently obtained by his crimes. Ly faces up to 55 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million at his sentencing before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia on December 2, 2019.