LOS ANGELES – A Baldwin Hills man pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge for conning victims nationwide into giving him their high-end and exotic vehicles with bogus promises he would find other people to take over their car leases.
Geoffrey Eldridge Hull, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
According to his plea agreement, from April 2016 to November 2019, Hull marketed himself and his companies as being able to find people to take over leases for high-end and exotic car – such as Bentleys, Ferraris and Maseratis – from individuals no longer wishing to continue those leases. Despite assuring victims that his venture was successful, Hull and his companies did not find people to take over these leases.
Hull agreed to cover monthly lease payments and promised leaseholders that he would quickly find credit-qualified buyers to legally assume the lease through the original finance company. Hull used a longtime friend and business associate to vouch for the quality of the program.
In fact, Hull offered the luxury cars for rent and passed little of the rent money to the original leaseholders, who were still responsible for lease payments. Furthermore, Hull made few, if any, timely car lease payments.
Hull ignored victims’ requests for the return of their vehicles, prompting some to make stolen car reports to law enforcement agencies. When some victims’ cars were returned after law enforcement seizures, repossession and other means, the cars were often damaged, had incurred toll and parking violations, or had been driven over the allotted mileage.
When victims posted negative reviews online about Hull and his company, Hull would change his company name and resume the scheme. The company names Hull used to operate his scheme included Exotic Lease Transfer, Luxe Lease Transfer, Shift Lease, Veer Lease, Torque Transfer, Haven Transfer, Early Lease, and Open Lease Transfer. Hull, who has three prior convictions for grand theft auto, also used a series of aliases as part of the scheme, including “Geoff Eldredge,” “Geoff Eldridge,” “Jefrii Eldridge,” “Geoffrey Hulle,” “Jeff Bluthenthal,” and “Jeff H.”
In total, Hull defrauded at least 128 individuals and caused an actual loss of at least $1,560,321.
United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin has scheduled a May 26 sentencing hearing, at which time Hull will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Homeland Security Investigations investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn S. Small of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting this case.