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Sweeping fraud arrests made in car ‘title washing’ ring

Criminal charges are against 30 individuals and 21 businesses for ‘title washing’ and for re-titling stolen vehicles in Lebanon, Lehigh, and Philadelphia counties

Harrisburg, Pa.—Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced criminal charges against 30 individuals and 21 businesses for “title washing” and for re-titling stolen vehicles in Lebanon, Lehigh, and Philadelphia counties. The title washing fraud was designed to bypass rigid requirements for reconstructed titles in states such as New Jersey and New York. The re-titling of those stolen vehicles was intended to make those vehicles look legitimate for resale or export.

The participants in these criminal networks are alleged to have purchased totaled vehicles that they then falsified inspection information for and submitted fraudulent title applications to PennDOT as well as removing and changing the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) attached to each vehicle to bypass police detection of stolen vehicles. These arrests are following sweeping arrests earlier this year as tied to related criminal rings in northeastern Pennsylvania.

As part of this scheme, the enhanced vehicle safety inspectors listed did not complete the necessary inspections that were required in order to make a totaled vehicle road worthy again and instead only completed the paperwork required. Many vehicles that they claimed to have been inspected at their shops never actually entered Pennsylvania. Under further investigation, it was found that several of the vehicles had been stolen from other states.

Charges against the 21 businesses include, in varying degrees: Washing Vehicle Titles, Deceptive Business Practices, Tampering with Public Records, Altered, Forged, or Counterfeit Documents, and False Application for Certificate of Title.

The 21 businesses charged are as follows:

  • Mendoza Auto Sale, Inc.
  • G & G Auto Body and Auto Salvage
  • Carla Matia, LLC
  • Abby Auto
  • Saldivar Group, Inc.
  • JM Auto Sales, Inc.
  • Jessica Auto and Multiservices
  • Wilfredo Auto Repair
  • Emma Auto Tags and Multiservices, Inc.
  • Docuservices
  • A2Z Auto Sales
  • Charo Auto Sales
  • AMCO Motor Sales
  • MP Notary and Tags, Inc.
  • J & J Car and Truck Sales, LLC
  • PA Tag and Title
  • Perfect Touch Auto Repair & Sales
  • Santos Auto Gallery
  • Grig LLC
  • Newroad Motors LLC
  • Amatti Auto Sales LLC

This case is being prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Robert LaBar, Deputy Attorney General Richard Bradbury, and Lehigh County’s Chief Deputy District Attorney David Mussel. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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