Following his conviction at trial, a North Miami resident was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for his participation in an elaborate automobile fraud scheme that netted over $1.8 million.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), and Rick Maglione, Chief, Fort Lauderdale Police Department made the announcement.
Michael “Mickey” Munday, 72, of North Miami, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. to 144 months in prison.
On January 17, 2018, Munday was convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and five counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341. Nine other co-defendants were indicted and plead guilty in connection with the same scheme.
The evidence presented at trial established that Munday obtained vehicles from throughout the country using various fraudulent methods. These methods included, among other things, convincing people who were behind on their car payments to turn over their vehicles to him in exchange for cash, illegally repossessing vehicles, and covertly transporting stolen cars from other states to Florida. In order to evade detection by law enforcement, Munday and his co-conspirators used several towing and repossession companies as fronts for their illegal activity.
After Munday and his co-conspirators obtained the vehicles, the automobiles were then hidden from owners, banks and lienholders at a number of locations, including at Munday’s North Miami residence. While the vehicles were hidden, another co-conspirator prepared and sent, via U.S. mail, false and fraudulent lien notices claiming thousands of dollars in nonexistent tow services to the vehicle owners and true lienholders. Sham auctions were then held at a strip mall, some of which were facilitated by Munday. Of the more than 150 cars involved in the scheme, only one car appeared at an “auction,” and there were never any customers. After the sham auction was held, the conspirators then cleaned the respective car titles by falsely and fraudulently removing the legitimate owners and lienholders from the title. The cars were then sold to a co-conspirator in the automotive wholesale business at prices below market value and resold for a profit to local dealerships. Overall, banks suffered more than $1.7 million in loss as a result of the scheme.
During the trial, videos and social media postings were introduced showing Munday bragging about his past experience as a drug smuggler, explaining the effectiveness of tow companies as fronts for smuggling, proclaiming himself the “UPS of the smuggling industry,” and advertising himself as a master of evading law enforcement.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the USSS and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua S. Rothstein and Anne P. McNamara.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.