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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Seeks To Return 1996 Ferrari Taken Into Custody At The Peace Bridge To Its Rightful Owner

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York has filed a civil action seeking to determine the ownership of a 1996 Ferrari F50.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul C. Parisi, who is handling the case, stated that according to the civil complaint, the Italian luxury sports car was being transported across the border from Canada into the United States at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry on December 14, 2019, at which time the vehicle was taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Subsequent investigation by CBP officers determined that the vehicle was reported stolen in Italy in 2003. Since being taken into custody by CBP officers, multiple parties have claimed ownership of the vehicle. The Government filed the civil action with the Court to determine who can take ownership of the vehicle, which is valued at an estimated $1,900,000.  

The Ferrari was initially taken into custody after it was discovered during the inspection of the vehicle at the border that some of the rivets on the VIN plate located on the dashboard were covered in a black tar type substance, which is inconsistent with factory standards. Due to the inconsistencies, CBP placed a hold on the vehicle to conduct additional investigation of the Ferrari’s history.

“After investigation, my Office determined that it would not be appropriate for us to exercise our authority and forfeit this extremely valuable and previously stolen luxury car,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Instead, after an 18-year odyssey, which we know took it across continents and countries, we have decided that the time has come for a court of law to determine the rightful owner of the vehicle.” 

“This case highlights the hard work, dedication, and enforcement mindset of our officers,” said CBP Buffalo Director Field Operations, Rose Brophy. “We continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners, even through an extensive time frame and over multiple countries, as shown with the outstanding teamwork by all involved in this case.”

The complaint is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy, and Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.

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Updated March 18, 2021