Classic Car Scammers Get The Slammer

They Were Supposed to be Project Cars - 
Classic Vehicles in Need of a Little Restoration


A 1964 Chevrolet Corvette. A 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. A 1965 Ford Mustang. A 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle. Even a 1956 Porsche Cabriolet. All listed for sale. But according to federal prosecutors, none of the vehicles advertised on Craigslist was really on the market: It was all a scam, a $146,000 scam.
The scheme lasted from at least August 2012 through February 2015, according to the federal indictment. It involved the posting of numerous fake advertisements in such places as Albuquerque, N.M.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Minneapolis; Omaha, Neb.; Peoria, Ill.; and Los Angeles. They advertised vehicles in need of restoration that the defendants "neither possessed nor intended to deliver to the buyers," court documents said.
Court documents said it was Newton’s job to encourage several co-conspirators to open bank accounts at South Hampton Roads banks. He and others would then push interested customers to send their deposits to the bank accounts.
Shortly after the money was wired, Newton and others would drive to the bank and withdraw the money, documents said. The co-conspirators would keep a portion of the deposit money and give the rest – usually more than half – to Newton, documents said.Newton would then wire more than half of his take “up the chain” to his cousin in Los Angeles. Court documents referenced two other Hampton Road residents by name.
To cover their tracks, the conspirators used multiple cellphones and email accounts to communicate with buyers, the indictment said. They would talk buyers into wiring money to various bank accounts and then abandon the phone numbers and email accounts. The conspirators would quickly withdraw the money from their bank accounts before the buyer realized he or she had been ripped off, the indictment said.

A Norfolk man was sentenced this week to almost two years in prison for his role in a nearly $145,000 scheme to scam classic-car lovers who were searching for vintage vehicles they could restore. Anthony Newton pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud from about August 2012 through February 2015 and ensnared at least 14 victims. Shaquana Taylor, also of Norfolk, was sentenced last month to 13 months in prison. The other, Dewrel Burleson of Virginia Beach, was sentenced to 30 days.