Thousands of dollars have been scammed away from several individuals when they were ripped off by a Miami Lakes dealership employee.
The dealership’s former finance manager, Carlos Ravelo, has been pinpointed as the scam’s culprit. He has been accused of promising customers a deal, but explained that they could only pay in cash and would have to pick up the car at a later date.
This was the pattern that was inflicted upon several victims. One of which was Olga Tellez, who claimed back in December that she and her husband went to the dealership in question with full intent to purchase a car.
Ravelo allegedly made them an impossibly attractive offer of $12,000 for a 2019 model Honda CRV. However they only had the option of paying in cash, which Tellez agreed to and withdrew.
She testified to the assumed authenticity:
He let us ride in the car, he gave me the VIN, the receipt, making it seem like everything was legit.
The crux of the scam would come when Ravelo told Tellez she could collect the car the next day, which came to see Ravelo seemingly go missing. Making off with the sizable portion of cash.
This method was repeated, victimising at least 6 other persons, with the arrest report stating that one customer even paid $50,000 in cash.
Ravelo was arrested at Kendall Hyundai and must now face multiple charges including grand theft, organising fraud and even theft of the elderly. So far the presiding judge has placed a $45,000 bond on Ravelo, which must be proven to come from legitimate sources.
Employees from the dealership where the scams occurred, AutoNation, have said they haven’t received any complaints from customers. Although they are aiding the investigation but declined to speak on the record. Some victims have also stated that they only did business with Ravelo because they viewed him and his mother as family friends.
Ravelo has admitted the motive behind the thefts was to fuel his gambling addiction, information which was originally disclosed to the judge. Subsequent to the fraudulent actions, Ravelo spent nearly all of the cash which was illicitly acquired on his gambling activities.
Instances such as these are just 1 of the reasons that gambling has, until recently, been largely prohibited in many states. As the legalisation nationwide in the US is enacted, regulators must look at these cases of fraud as well as the protection of problem gamblers as serious concerns to be addressed through their regulatory legislation.
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