According to recent news reports, a 47-year-old used car salesman was charged with bringing in approximately $2 million from Russian citizens who were tricked into buying a vehicle from his dealership.
The man was arrested and charged with wire fraud as the result of collecting more than 140 payments from people who never received the vehicle they ordered.
Authorities note that the man operated several Russian language websites that offered to sell luxury cars at lower prices than the competition.
Court filings show that customers would select a car online, wire the man the money and then wait for the vehicle to arrive. Typically, the amount of the transaction ranged from $20,000 to $50,000.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey said the following in a recent statement: "His websites were geared to buyers who believed they were getting a 'good deal' from a fellow countryman who could be trusted to follow through."
After payment was sent, authorities allege that the man never followed through to deliver the vehicle. Instead, he would continue with the process, noting that the vehicle was damaged and another one could be provided for a fee.
Wire fraud is a serious crime that can carry a serious penalty, including many years in prison as well as hefty fines. Along with this, there is often gray area in regards to the crime that was actually committed. For this reason, anyone charged needs to learn more about their legal rights. There is often a defense strategy that can be used to lessen the punishment and impact on the person's life.
Source: Philly.com, "Used car salesman from Bucks bilked $2 million from Russians, feds say," Justine McDaniel, Dec. 30, 2016