Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 1, 2011

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Eighteen people were charged today in a $1.9 million auto loan scheme in Queens, New York, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

 

The suspects would take out car loans on high-end cars such as Escalades, Mercedes-Benzes, Maseratis and BMWs by using straw borrowers—stand-in borrowers whose information is used to pull loans out while concealing the real borrowers’ identities in exchange for compensation. Then after obtaining the vehicles, loan payments would cease, and the real borrowers and cars would disappear.

 

Among those involved in this scheme was Ronda Richardson, who works for the U.S. Treasury’s inspector general’s office.

 

Another recently-publicized individual was the alleged leader of this operation, Andre Dickenson, a 31 year-old who was charged earlier this year in a double-murder that took place at NFL player Jonathan Vilma’s Condo.

 

The suspects ultimately purchased 50 vehicles, one of which was a 2008 Porsche Cayenne that was used in Dickenson’s double-homicide.

 

After the scammers disappeared with the vehicles, the auto dealers and straw borrowers were held liable for the remainder of these large auto loans.

 

“Unfortunately, [the straw borrowers] wound up with ruined credit, multiple banks suing them for money, and suspended driver’s licenses for unpaid parking tickets on vehicles they allegedly own,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown as reported by the New York Daily News.

 

The straw borrowers were apparently lured into the scam with $2,000 payment and a promise the loans would be paid off, resulting in their credit score growing stronger.

 

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelley warns about any offer like this, saying “If you think that [is] too good to be true, you’re right,” according to the New York Daily News.