A 30-year-old California man pleaded guilty on Oct. 3 for his role in a nationwide auto loan fraud scheme that was discovered in 2013 in Pennsylvania by the Secret Service, where several of the fraudulent loan activities took place. in the scheme, the man used real vehicle identification numbers and false tax documents to secure auto loans on vehicles that were not for sale.
The man used straw buyers in order to secure the loan money. Banks across the nation lost money because no real collateral secured the loans. After receiving the loan proceeds, the fraud scheme participants split the money between themselves. All together, the banks lost between $1 million and $2.4 million.
The man created two fictional companies that were supposedly selling the vehicles. He allegedly funneled money through bank accounts set up in the name of a third fictitious company. Authorities state that at least $544,000 could be traced from the scheme to the man, with outgoing payments from him to other participants of around $219,000. The man pleaded guilty to bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank or wire fraud, and he faces up to 30 years in federal prison on each count.
At times, innocent people or businesses are suspected of fraud when they believed they were simply engaging in legal business activity. In certain circumstances, suspected fraudulent activity may be federally prosecuted. As federal sentences follow mandatory sentencing guidelines and can involve lengthy prison terms, it may be important for charged individuals to seek representation from a criminal defense attorney who represents people charged with white-collar crime in federal court. They may be able to help their clients by conducting investigations, negotiating with U.S. Attorneys or going to trial.
Source: WTAE, "(UPDATE) California pleads guilty in national auto loan con ", Joe Mandak, October 03, 2014