Pennsylvania dismantles network of fraudulent registrations

Pennsylvania dismantles network of fraudulent registrations

The Pennsylvania Department of Justice charged a dozen people on Wednesday as part of an organized crime gang that, he said, earned millions of dollars by renting fraudulently obtained vehicle registrations, primarily in New York City. People who rented Pennsylvania license plates – which were accompanied by fraudulent insurance documents – allegedly used anonymity to evade traffic tickets, parking tickets, and road tolls. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro estimated that the losses for the state, as well as for New York and Florida, were two million dollars, and possibly more. He hinted that there might be similar operations in other states. The criminal organization, presumably led by New York City’s Raphael Levi, used a network of fake car dealers and transportation businesses established in various rural areas of Pennsylvania to obtain the plates, which began around 2008. In Total obtained more than 1.000 registrations, and approximately 400 remained active. He then rented the plates at about $ 400 a month, or more, to hundreds of people, prosecutors said. “All this was a great facade; Was false, it was not real, “said Shapiro. “There were no such large businesses to the public where legal operations were performed, and behind maybe some illegal business practices. All this was built as a big fraud. ” Each vehicle registration was registered to a business associated with Levi, the authorities said. When police, parking authorities or toll operators sent mail fines, notices or documents relating to other violations, they went to postal addresses or addresses linked to businesses within the Levi organization, they said, and the organization was unaware of the fines. They also used fake automobile insurance cards, so that when an accident occurred and other motorists filed claims, no payment was issued, said Shapiro, who did not respond if those who rented the license plates will be charged. The investigation is ongoing and the state will seek compensation, he added. A criminal case was opened Wednesday in Harrisburg to Levi and 11 other defendants, the Justice Department said. A Levi lawyer did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.

AP

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