Arizona Man Appears in St. Louis Court to Answer Fraud Charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri
ST. LOUIS – An Arizona car repair business owner pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that accuse him of defrauding at least four customers out of more than $500,000.
Andres “Manny” Lopez, 35, was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis on Oct. 11, 2023, on two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was arrested December 11 in Arizona and appeared in court in St. Louis Wednesday.
The indictment says Lopez ran All Performance Tuning and Diesel Repair LLC in Arizona but solicited customers across the country. The indictment alleges that Lopez defrauded at least four customers, including a Missouri man, out of more than $500,000 by falsely claiming that he would obtain cars for them at a discount and perform vehicle repairs and upgrades. After obtaining upfront payments, Lopez spent the money on personal expenses, the indictment says.
The Missouri victim wired Lopez $45,000 for a Toyota RAV4 for his mother. Lopez then repeatedly falsely claimed that he’d bought the vehicle and that it would to be delivered, the indictment says. The indictment also alleges that Lopez impersonated the general manager of a Florida Toyota dealership in text messages to the client’s mother, falsely claiming that delivery delays were due to recall issues.
The wire fraud charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. The aggravated identity theft charge is punishable by two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine, or both prison and a fine.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman is prosecuting the case.
Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer, email@example.com.
Updated January 17, 2024