February 14, 2013
Police say they have arrested more than 200 persons in connection with a fraudulent auto licensing scam that had contributed to the country's "alarming" level of vehicles reported stolen. Supt Paul Rolle was speaking yesterday morning at CDU where he and several other officers sent out a warning to the public about the scam and offered tips on how to avoid having a car stolen. Police also announced that the number of auto thefts has decreased compared to the same period last year.
The current number stands at 136 and of that number, 88 are Hondas and 47 are Nissans. However, Assistant Supt Edward Demeritte noted that although there has been a decrease in auto theft so far for the year, they are still “very concerned by the alarming number.” Speaking of the scam, Supt Rolle explained that cars purchased from an individual rather than a dealership increases the risk of purchasing a fraudulently licensed or stolen vehicle. “You recall that some time ago,” he said, “we talked about an investigation that we had uncovered where persons were fraudulently licensing these vehicles and I can say to you today, that to date we have charged in excess of 200 individuals within this scam that we have uncovered.” Supt Rolle explained it should be a “red flag” if an individual selling a car offers to provide insurance, vehicle licensing, and vehicle inspection.
“What that is telling you is that this could be one of those persons involved in fraudulently licensing these vehicles,” he continued. “And when you find that you go to get your vehicle re-insured or re-licensed, at that point you’re going to find out that the vehicle was stolen and you will end up loosing your vehicle – you’re losing thousands of dollars.” Supt Rolle said, however, that sometimes the drivers are not always unsuspecting buyers but do realise they are cheating the law. “What we find though,” he said, “there are persons who are opposed to going in and paying $700 for insurance, $200 for licensing, so they’re going to this individual.”
“He’s got all the validation stickers and the discs and whatever; and they’re getting it at a reduced price. So we’re satisfied that they must know that there is something wrong about that. You’re getting an insurance certificate for $100? Come on.” Insp Frederick Taylor also spoke and advised the public on how to avoid being caught up in a car licensing scam. “When you go out there and buy a vehicle, we want you to ask the person selling the vehicle to show some proof of ownership for the vehicle,” he said.
“Ask them for some previous insurance certificate or some bill of sale. We’re also asking you to make sure that the serial number for the vehicle and the chassis number match up. “We’re also asking before any monies is exchanged between the seller and the buyer, bring the vehicle to CDU so that we can examine the vehicle to make sure that the vehicle is not stolen. This is free of charge, it should take no less than 10 to 15 minutes to get done and you’re out of here; because we are taking a lot of vehicles from customers and they are loosing thousands of dollars when they discover that the vehicle is stolen.”
Assistant Supt Matthew Edgecombe added: “We want to warn the public to be honest with yourself. We all know that Road Traffic (Department) is there to have your car licensed. Go to Road Traffic, go inside and do it the proper way. “A lot of persons who were charged, they would come to us in defence that they didn’t know, they just gave it to somebody to get licensed for them. That is no excuse. You will end up in court (and) could get a police record or a fine. Just do it the right way… You could save yourself a lot of money, you could save yourself jail time.” Police confirmed they expect to arrest more persons in connection with the scam.
Click here to read more at The Tribune