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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 18, 2021

Car Buyer Convicted Of Mail Fraud Going To Prison

CONTACT: Barbara Burns   
PHONE:       (716) 843-5817 
FAX #:          (716) 551-3051  

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Michael E. Levesque, 52, of Saco, Maine, who was convicted of mail fraud, was sentenced to serve six months in prison and ordered to pay $152,000 in restitution by U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo, who handled the case, stated that the defendant worked independently as a “fee buyer.” As a fee buyer, Levesque purchased vehicles from auctions for automobile dealerships for a fee. In 2016, the owner of an automobile dealership in the Western District of New York met the defendant at an automobile auction and, over the next two years, Levesque acted as a fee buyer for the dealership, purchasing approximately 20 to 30 vehicles in exchange for a fee.

Between February and March 2, 2018, the defendant devised a scheme to defraud the dealership owner out of money and property. Levesque falsely represented to the owner that he was looking for a new business partner to fund vehicles which the defendant would purchase and re-sell to individuals or dealerships for a profit. As part of the scheme, Levesque told the owner that although the purchased vehicles would be titled to the owner, the owner would never actually possess the vehicles. In exchange for the owner providing the funding to purchase the vehicles, the defendant and the owner would split equally the profits from each vehicle sold. Based on false representations and promises, the owner agreed.

For example, Levesque falsely represented that he had a buyer for a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe that was owned by a dealership in South Parish, Maine, which would result in a $4,000 profit. The defendant instructed the owner to send a $44,500 check to the South Parish, Maine dealership purportedly to fund the deal. However, the payment to the South Parish, Maine dealership was actually to satisfy a pre-existing debt which Levesque owed, not to purchase the Tahoe. In addition, the owner also sent a $44,500 check to a dealership in Lisbon, Maine, and a $41,000 check to a dealership in Sanford, Maine, purportedly to purchase vehicles. These payments did not fund the purchases of vehicles, rather, the payments were to satisfy pre-existing debts which Levesque owed to the automobile dealerships. The defendant also defrauded a dealership located in Lisbon, Maine out of $22,000.

In total, Levesque fraudulently obtained $152,000 during the course of his scheme.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated October 19, 2021