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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Farmington Hills Man Sentenced to 116 Months in Prison for Title-Washing Scheme

A Farmington Hills man was sentenced to 116 months in prison yesterday for having devised and executed an elaborate vehicle title fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.

Schneider was joined in the announcement by U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Patricia Armstrong.

According to court records, Solomon Israel, 60, of Farmington Hills, ran a business that fraudulently retitled vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In carrying out his scheme, Israel obtained fraudulent Michigan titles that purported to give him “free and clear” ownership to vehicles that, in fact, had third-party security interests from financing companies. Israel then traveled to other states and used those false titles to acquire new out-of-state titles, thereby fraudulently extinguishing the third-party security interests.  After obtaining the out-of-state titles, Israel returned to Michigan and resold many of the vehicles, ultimately causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to the financing companies.

In carrying out his scheme, Israel falsely assumed the identity of an incarcerated man in Ohio. Israel also used that incarcerated man’s identity to engage in illicit banking transactions—conduct that resulted in additional convictions for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

“Our office is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting fraud in all of its forms,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.  “Whether the victims are government authorities, private companies, or other individuals, we’ll hold criminals accountable when they choose to lie and cheat for their own financial gain.”

U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Patricia Armstrong said, “Protecting the public is a key function for law enforcement. In fact, Postal Inspectors have protected Americans from those who use the U.S. Mail for fraudulent purposes since the passage of the Mail Fraud Statute in 1872. The sentencing of Solomon Israel demonstrates our continuing commitment to protect all citizens of the United States.”

Israel was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. Judge Goldsmith ordered Israel to pay $616,087.00 in restitution.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Yahkind

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated February 14, 2019