23 Charged in Auto Dealer Fraud Network; 'Dealers' Frequented Lancaster County Auction Sites

From Pennsylvania State Police:

After a thorough and complete investigation conducted by multiple agencies, the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop J Lancaster, announced today that 23 individuals have been arrested in relation to illegal vehicle sales activities, tax fraud, and welfare fraud.

Dates of Incidents: March 1, 2017 – December 31, 2019

Locations of Incidents:

                America’s Auto Auction Lancaster, Lancaster County

                Garden Spot Auto Auction, Lancaster County

                CarMax Auto Auction, Lancaster County

                Manheim-PA Auto Auction, Lancaster County

                Manheim-Keystone Auto Auction, Dauphin County

Details of Investigation:

                In January 2018, the PSP Lancaster, Vehicle Fraud Investigations Unit, initiated an investigation into illegal vehicle sales via social media advertising.  Individuals posing as licensed salespersons or private citizens were observed to be advertising excessive numbers of vehicles.  Individual social media users in Lancaster County were advertising dozens of vehicles every week.  It was noticed that some of the vehicles that were offered for sale displayed Pennsylvania registration plates that did not belong to the vehicles and fraudulent inspection stickers.  The individuals advertised vehicles for sale on social media platforms such as Facebook, Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, and other platforms.  Some of the individuals advertised that they were a dealership, when they were not, and offered potential customers dealer services like warranties and financing options when no such services actually existed.  After determining the owners of the social media accounts, it was discovered that none of the individuals possessed a Pennsylvania Dealer or Salesperson license from the Pennsylvania Department of State.  The course of the investigation showed that the individuals were dealership wholesale vehicle auction representatives fictitiously employed by or representing (a) dealership(s) outside of the Commonwealth.   

The PSP Lancaster Vehicle Fraud Investigation Unit learned that these fictitious salespersons were utilizing wholesale vehicle auctions throughout Pennsylvania and the country, but the majority of them began in Lancaster County in 2017.  PSP Lancaster Vehicle Fraud Investigations Unit contacted the auctions and identified the dealerships that these fictitious salespersons were representing - County Motors out of Missouri, Champ Motors out of Texas, Half-AMill Autos out of Ohio, and Ultra Ridez out of Texas.  PSP Lancaster Vehicle Fraud Investigations Unit then contacted the respective States where the dealerships were licensed and determined that the dealerships were started by an out-of-state resident.  In this case, Ricardo Robinson of Maryland began County Motors out of Missouri in June of 2016, Herbert Christian III of New York began Half-AMill Autos out of Ohio in June 2017, Kurtis Danquah of Pennsylvania began Ultra Ridez out of Texas in October of 2017, and Darryl Champ of Maryland began Champ Motors of Texas in November of 2017.  They were licensed by the States as wholesale vehicle dealers, meaning that the dealerships could buy, sell or trade vehicles at wholesale vehicle auctions, but not to individuals.

The owners of the dealerships then utilized their licenses to begin a corrupt and structured organization.  Ricardo Robinson of County Motors teamed up with Marcus Skinner and Dionne Skinner to recruit members to join the County Motors criminal organization.  They solicited friends and people working at auctions (i.e. detailers, drivers, etc.) to join County Motors by promising them a dealer license and full access to wholesale vehicle auctions.  Instead of a dealer license, the members were provided with an Auction ACCESS card, which allows dealership employees to enter auctions, act on behalf of the dealerships, and other administrative functions; but it does not permit them to buy cars and retail them to citizens.  Prospective members paid a fee between $2,000 and $3,000 to join the organization, and then a monthly fee nicknamed “Rent” of $250 to maintain the AuctionACCESS card.  The members would then buy cars at auctions, drive them home, and advertise them on social media.  The vehicles were subsequently sold to unsuspecting citizens.  This same membership method was utilized for Half AMill, Ultra Ridez, and Champ Motors.  In some cases, cars that were sold were unsafe.  The consumer would contact the seller, who they believed was a licensed salesperson from a dealership, to have the vehicle repaired; but their calls were never returned.

The members of these criminal enterprises defrauded citizens who purchased their vehicles by having them report to PennDOT a sale price less than they actually paid for the vehicle.  These members also utilized fictitious plates to transport vehicles to and from the auctions, take customers on test drives, and in some cases, furnished consumers with the fictitious plates.  The members used forged and fraudulent out of state forms and bills of sale to create the appearance that the sale was conducted by a dealership. 

In total, County Motors and their members profited by at least $1.4 million, exclusive of membership fees that the leadership charged.  It is estimated that the leadership made between $100,000 and $125,000 per year from membership fees.  Champ Motors was determined to have earned $227,700, Ultra Ridez was determined to have earned $76,915; and Half Amill Autos earned $70,099

After County Motors had their license revoked by Missouri and AuctionACCESS for fraud, many of the members followed Marcus and Dionne Skinner to Champ Motors, where the illegal activities continued.  Some members of County Motors also joined Half AMill Autos and/or Ultra Ridez.

PennDOT, Risk Management Office, was provided with a list of vehicles that members purchased at the auctions.  The PennDOT investigation yielded that the majority of the vehicles were sold to citizens who were unknowingly defrauded.  PennDOT provided the State Police with thousands vehicle records where the vehicle was unlawfully sold in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Bureau of Criminal Tax Investigations investigated all vehicle transactions, company tax records, and individual tax records.  The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Bureau of Criminal Tax Investigations also provided forensic accounting support to the State Police.  The investigator determined that owners were not withholding employee taxes and they failed to report sales tax reports to the Department of Revenue.  The dealerships never registered their business with Pennsylvania, as is required by law.  Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Bureau of Criminal Tax Investigations also found that members of these criminal organizations made significant incomes and never reported their income or employment to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.  They falsified tax returns stating that they earned income below the Federal Poverty Level, minimal income, or they didn’t report an income at all.  In three (3) cases, this illegal reporting was done so that they could illegally continue to collect public welfare.

The Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General, Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution investigated acts of welfare fraud by Juan Yurnet, Martha Moore, and Dashaun Guzman.  Their investigation revealed that that Juan Yurnet, Martha Moore, and Dashaun Guzman concealed their illegal vehicle sales income from the Department of Human Services for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining public welfare.  Such welfare benefits included food stamps, medical assistance, and other benefits.  As a result, Martha Moore received $55,958.37 in welfare benefits between April 1, 2017 and September 30, 2019.  Her live-in boyfriend, Dashaun Guzman conspired with Martha Moore to commit the fraud by falsifying statements to the Department of Human Services so that she could continue to collect the benefits.  Collectively, Martha Moore and Dashaun Guzman made $261,405 in less than two (2) years from illegal vehicle sales.  They would not have been eligible for benefits had they reported their income.  Juan Yurnet received $39,835.03 in welfare benefits between May 1, 2017 and September 30, 2019.  He would not have been eligible for benefits if he reported the $367,150, he made from vehicle sales during that time frame. 

After investigating the dealerships and reviewing the case with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, 23 members of the criminal enterprises are being charged.  All charges are filed at District Court 02-2-05.  The members that were charged are listed herein.

All are presumed innocent.

Accused:

1.            Marcus Bruce Skinner (Leader of County Motors and Champ Motors)

B/N-Male, 50 years of age

Reisterstown, MD

Charged with:    Corrupt Organizations; Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Conspiracy to Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Criminal Use of Communication Facility; Altered, Forged or Counterfeit Documents and Plates; Taxation - Failure to Collect and Pay State Income Tax; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

2.            Dionne Renee Skinner (Leader of County Motors and Champ Motors)

B/N-Female, 50 years of age

Reistertown, MD

Charged with:    Corrupt Organizations; Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Conspiracy to Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Taxation - Failure to Collect and Pay State Income Tax; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

3.            Ricardo Mancini Robinson (Owner of County Motors)

B/N-Male, 50 years of age

Silver Spring, MD

Charged with:    Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Taxation - Failure to Pay Corporate Tax; Taxation - Failure to Collect and Pay State Income Tax; Taxation - Failure to File Employer Withholding Tax Return; Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License.

4.            Herbert Christian III (Owner of Half-AMill Auto)

W/N-Male, 26 years of age

Bay Shore, NY

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Conspiracy to Commit Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Taxation - Failure to Collect and Pay State Income Tax; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

5.            Darryl Champ (Owner of Champ Motors)

B/N-Male, 50 years of age

Glen Burnie, MD

Charged with:    Corrupt Organizations; Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Taxation - Failure to Collect and Pay State Income Tax; Taxation - Failure to File Employer Withholding Tax Return; Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

6.            Kurtis Kofi Danquah (Owner of Ultra Ridez)

B/N-Male, 29 years of age

Marietta, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Conspiracy to Commit Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Taxation - Failure to Collect and Pay State Income Tax; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

7.            Dashaun Kenneth Guzman (Leader/Recruiter of County Motors and Champ Motors)

B/H-Male, 29 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Corrupt Organizations; Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Conspiracy to Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Welfare Fraud; Tampering with Public Records; Criminal Use of Communication Facility; Taxation - Fraudulent or False Return; Taxation - Fails to Collect and Remit Sales Tax; Taxation - Fails to File Personal Income Tax Return; Trademark Counterfeiting; Tampering with Records; Altered, Forged or Counterfeit Documents and Plates; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

8.            Martha Lorraine Moore (Member of County Motors and Champ Motors)

W/N-Female, 27 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Conspiracy to Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Fraudulent Attainment of Food Stamp Assistance (SNAP); Fraudulent Obtainment of Medical Assistance; Theft by Deception; Tampering with Public Records; Taxation - Fraudulent or False Return; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Unsworn Falsification to Authorities; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

9.            Juan “Johnny” Yurnet, Jr. (Member/Recruiter of County Motors, Half-AMill Autos, and Ultra Ridez)

W/H-Male, 39 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Corrupt Organizations; Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Fraudulent Attainment of Food Stamp Assistance (SNAP); Fraudulent Obtainment of Medical Assistance; Theft by Deception; Taxation - Fraudulent or False Return; Taxation - Fails to Collect and Remit Sales Tax; Taxation - Fails to File Personal Income Tax Return; Unsworn Falsification to Authorities; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

10.          Justin Eric Range (Member of County Motors and Half-AMill Autos)

W/N-Male, 38 years of age

Marietta, PA

Charged with:    Corrupt Organizations; Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Organizations; Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Theft by Deception; Taxation - Fraudulent or False Return; Taxation - Fails to Collect and Remit Sales Tax; Taxation - Files a False or Fraudulent Personal Income Tax Return; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

11.          Rafael “Ralphy” Benito Soto (Member of County Motors)

W/H-Male, 39 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Taxation - Files a False or Fraudulent Personal Income Tax Return; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

12.          Carlos Alfredo Ramos-Lebron (Member of Champ Motors)

W/H-Male, 29 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

13.          Miguel Acevedo-Hernandez (Member of County Motors)

W/H-Male, 38 years of age

Reading, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practice; Tampering with Public Records; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Taxation - Files a False or Fraudulent Personal Income Tax Return; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

14.          Travis Centel Washington (Member of County Motors)

B/H-Male, 35 years of age

Baltimore, MD

Charged with:    Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

15.          Dano J. Delacruz (Member of County Motors)

W/N-Male, 27 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Taxation - Willful Attempt to Evade or Defeat Personal Income Tax; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

16.          Nicholas Kinkade Dalton (Member of County Motors)

B/N-Male, 34 years of age

Parkville, MD

Charged with:    Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

17.          Christine Marie Jordan (Member of County Motors)

W/N-Female, 28 years of age

Lititz, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practices; Theft by Deception; Tampering with Public Records; Criminal Use of Communication Facility; Taxation - Willful Attempt to Evade or Defeat Personal Income Tax; Altered, Forged or Counterfeit Documents and Plates; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

18.          Alex Montanez (Member of County Motors)

W/N-Male, 42 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practices; Taxation - Fails to File Personal Income Tax Return; Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

19.          Keven Perez Ayala (Member of Champ Motors)

W/H-Male, 36 years of age

Reading, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practices; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violations.

20.          Robert Donta Christmas (Member of County Motors and Champ Motors)

B/N-Male, 44 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practices; Tampering with Public Records; Taxation - Willful Attempt to Evade or Defeat Personal Income Tax; Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License.

21.          Mariano Perez (Member of Ultra Ridez)

W/H-Male, 63 years of age

Lancaster, PA

Charged with:    Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

22.          Victor Elvim Acevedo-Cortes (Member of Champ Motors)

W/H-Male, 31 years of age

Reading, PA

Charged with:    Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

23.          Brandon Junior Carrasquillo (Member of Champ Motors)

W/H-Male, 25 years of age

Reading, PA

Charged with:    Impersonating a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Board of Vehicles Act Violation.

State police consulted with Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Chieppor on the charges.

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Trooper Kevin Kochka, PSP-Avondale, (W) 610-268-2102, kkochka@pa.gov , Twitter: @PSPTroopJPIO