On behalf of J. Kevin Stockstill, Attorney At Law posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

The internet sometimes offers unique opportunities to perpetrate fraudulent schemes on people in the United States and in foreign countries. In a recent case that could have occurred in Louisiana or any other state, a car dealer was arrested and charged using the internet to defraud customers of more than $2 million.

The suspect ran a car dealership in Elizabeth, NJ. Federal officials allege that he set up a web site directed at Russian citizens that advertised used luxury cars, such as Mercedes and Lexus, for sale at greatly reduced prices. The site was written in Russian to give potential customers a sense that the company could be trusted. According to the investigators, the web site said that the cars could be delivered to Finland for easy delivery in Russia if the purchaser paid the entire price up front. After receiving the funds by wire transfer, the suspect allegedly deposited the funds but offered only excuses for delay to the buyers.

The suspect then offered his customers another car - often inferior to the subject of the purchase - if the customer would pay added shipping and storage charges. The customers, desperate to obtain something for their money, complied. The cars that were delivered were salvaged vehicles. Many had been immersed in salt water and were inoperable. According to federal investigators, the suspect defrauded his "customers" out of more than $2 million.

The allegations in this case are not evidence, and the auto dealer is entitled to be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar criminal charges may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in defending persons accused of various federal crimes. Such a consultation can provide a helpful evaluation of the facts and law of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.

Source: Westfield Patch, "Feds Charge Union County Auto Dealer In $2M Fraud Scheme." Kara Seymour, Dec. 29, 2016