30 Individuals, 21 Businesses Charged in Pennsylvania Title Washing Scheme


Criminal charges were announced Dec. 9 in Pennsylvania against 30 individuals and 21 businesses for “title washing” and for re-titling stolen vehicles in Lebanon, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties.

The title washing fraud was designed to bypass rigid requirements for reconstructed titles in states such as New Jersey and New York. The re-titling of these stolen vehicles was intended to make those vehicles look legitimate for resale or export.

The participants in these criminal networks are alleged to have purchased totaled vehicles they then falsified inspection information for and submitted fraudulent title applications to PennDOT as well as removing and changing the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) attached to each vehicle to bypass police detection of stolen vehicles.

These arrests are following sweeping arrests earlier this year as tied to related criminal rings in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The charges were announced by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“The defendants used their positions and knowledge of PennDOT requirements to defraud state and federal authorities and put unsuspecting drivers at risk,” said Shapiro. “Vehicles that have been totaled must not only be repaired but also undergo an enhanced safety inspection to ensure they are safe. The defendants instead allowed hundreds of heavily-damaged vehicles onto the roadways in Pennsylvania, and around the country without even looking at them. They gamed the system and put consumers at risk to rack up millions of dollars in illegal profits. This was widespread criminal conduct and today we brought a halt to it.”

As part of this scheme, the enhanced vehicle safety inspectors listed did not complete the necessary inspections that were required in order to make a totaled vehicle road worthy again and instead only completed the paperwork required. Many vehicles they claimed to have been inspected at their shops never actually entered Pennsylvania. Under further investigation, it was found several of the vehicles had been stolen from other states.

“I congratulate Attorney General Shapiro and his staff on this investigation and the resulting arrests,” said Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin. “I commend and thank Chief Deputy District Attorney David Mussel, and all of the Lehigh County Auto Theft Task Force, for the roles that they played in this successful investigation in Lehigh County.”

The 30 individual defendants were charged, in varying degrees, with: corrupt organizations; forgery; washing vehicle titles; deceptive business practices; tampering with public records; false application for certificate of title; altered, forged or counterfeit documents; and insurance fraud, among other charges.

Charges against the 21 businesses include, in varying degrees: washing vehicle titles; deceptive business practices; tampering with public records; altered, forged or counterfeit documents; and false application for certificate of title.

The defendants are as follows:

  • Roberto Gomez-Gomez
  • Nora D. Rodriguez
  • Jimmy Rodriguez-Cosme
  • Jessica L. Engelke
  • Ahmed Lopez-Roman
  • Aristeds Aquino
  • Jean C. Aquino-Belen
  • Rafael Santiago-Pacheco
  • Juana Belen-Valdez
  • Juana Belen-De Evangelista
  • Osiris M. Fernandez-Gonzalez
  • Edgar Collado
  • Mohammad Alkurdi
  • Mohamed Kerdi
  • Albert Luciano-Rodriguez
  • Edward Saldivar
  • Adelaida Mirelis Mendoza
  • Eulid Urena-Recio
  • Linda M. Sandoval Martinez-Herrera
  • Margarete Rose Almashaqbeh
  • Charlie Jiminan
  • Beaki Antonia Perez
  • Somary Ibeth Otanez-DeLoor
  • Indalecia Vazquez
  • Maria Pineda
  • Jefferson Loor-Valet
  • Angel Mendez
  • David Morrison
  • Oleg Zelenko
  • Igor A. Dratch

The 21 businesses charged are as follows:

  • Mendoza Auto Sale, Inc.
  • G & G Auto Body and Auto Salvage
  • Carla Matia, LLC
  • Abby Auto
  • Saldivar Group, Inc.
  • JM Auto Sales, Inc.
  • Jessica Auto and Multiservices
  • Wilfredo Auto Repair
  • Emma Auto Tags and Multiservices, Inc.
  • Docuservices
  • A2Z Auto Sales
  • Charo Auto Sales
  • AMCO Motor Sales
  • MP Notary and Tags, Inc.
  • J & J Car and Truck Sales, LLC
  • PA Tag and Title
  • Perfect Touch Auto Repair & Sales
  • Santos Auto Gallery
  • Grig LLC
  • Newroad Motors LLC
  • Amatti Auto Sales LLC

This case is being prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Robert LaBar, Deputy Attorney General Richard Bradbury and Lehigh County’s Chief Deputy District Attorney David Mussel. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Consumers who believe they may have been a victim of the practices of any of the above dealerships, vehicle inspectors or tag agents, or have information about this or other forms of vehicle or title fraud, should reach out to the Office of Attorney General by emailing the Insurance Fraud Section at titlefraud@attorneygeneral.gov.

Source: Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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