New Britain Man Sentenced to More Than 4 Years in Federal Prison for Stealing and Selling Catalytic Converters
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging DARYL JONES, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, and MARKOS PAPPAS, 49, of New Haven, with offenses related to a scheme to steal vehicles in other states, transport them to Connecticut, make efforts to conceal the fact they were stolen, and then sell them to customers.
The indictment was returned on June 20, 2023, and unsealed yesterday. Jones appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector in New Haven and pleaded not guilty. He was released on a $50,000 bond pending trial. Pappas has been detained in federal custody since March 28, 2023, when he was arrested on a narcotics charges stemming from a related investigation.
As alleged in the indictment, Jones, Pappas and others conspired to obtain stolen motor vehicles from car dealerships, car rental businesses, and other sources in Georgia, Illinois, elsewhere, and transported the vehicles to Connecticut. They altered the vehicle identifying number (VIN) of the stolen motor vehicles to hide the fact that they were stolen, and disabled the vehicles’ onboard communication services, often known as the telematics systems, including GPS systems, in order to thwart attempts to locate the vehicle after it was stolen. They used the altered VIN to create stickers and other means of identification to put on the stolen motor vehicles, and attempted to remove the VIN etched on the vehicles. They also created fake vehicle titles and bills of sale using the altered VIN to present to various state’s Departments of Motor Vehicles when registering the vehicles. The vehicles were sold to customers, often in cash transactions.
Among the stolen vehicles specifically referenced in the indictment are a 2021 Ford Expedition stolen from a rental car company in Oak Brook Village, Illinois, in January 2022, and two Ford F-150 Raptors that were stolen from car dealerships in Gainesville, Georgia, and Canton, Georgia, in November 2022.
It is further alleged that in April 2023, while detained in federal custody as part of a separate indictment, Pappas communicated by phone with co-conspirators about the stolen vehicles.
The indictment charges Jones and Pappas with one count of conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and three counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, and offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count.
U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force, with the assistance of the DEA New Haven’s Tactical Diversion Squad, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Marshals Service, and the National Crime Insurance Bureau. The FBI Task Force includes participants from the FBI, the Connecticut State Police, the Connecticut Department of Correction, and the New Haven, Milford, East Haven, West Haven and Wallingford Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah P. Karwan and Tara E. Levens, in coordination with the New Haven and Milford State’s Attorney’s Offices.
This case is being prosecuted through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.