District Man Charged With Series Of Car Loan Scams That Cheated Victims Out Of More Than $185,000- Accused Of Posing As Car Dealer To Deceive Unsuspecting Victims -
WASHINGTON -- Benjamin Grey, 32, of Washington, D.C., was indicted today on federal charges in connection with a scheme in which he posed as a car dealer to defraud individuals and banks of more than $185,000, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., David Beach, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Grey was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The 23-count indictment includes charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and other offenses. It also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds that can be traced to the scheme. Grey has been in custody since his arrest on Aug. 22, 2012.
According to the indictment, Grey claimed that he ran car dealerships named Planet Cars and GreyMaxx. Grey persuaded various individuals to apply for car loans purporting to buy luxury cars, such as BMWs, from him and Planet Cars. After the bank or credit union issued a loan and check to buy the car, Grey took the money but never produced the promised car, and avoided contact with the victim. The indictment alleges Grey never owned the cars in question.
The indictment alleges that on five separate occasions in 2009, including four times in October 2009, Grey fraudulently obtained auto loan checks in this way. Each loan was between $29,000 and $35,000. The victimized banks included BB&T and Navy Federal Credit Union. All told, these loans were worth more than $160,000.
In addition, according to the indictment, Grey executed other similar confidence schemes. For example, in April 2010, Grey – holding himself out as the owner of Planet Cars – obtained a car from a legitimate car dealership in Bethesda, Md., using a worthless check drawn on a Planet Cars bank account that had been closed for a year. Further, the indictment alleges that in 2010, Grey defrauded a would-be business partner out of at least $26,000 by pretending that the money would finance their purchase and re-sale of luxury cars. Finally, the indictment alleges that in 2012 Grey sought a payment of thousands of dollars to obtain a Range Rover for an undercover Special Agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives - but, again, Grey had no intention of providing the car.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Machen, Special Agent in Charge Beach and Chief Lanier commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Secret Service and MPD, as well as those who provided assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They also commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Hooks and Christopher R. Kavanaugh, who are prosecuting the case.