DMV Arrests Suspects Charged in Fraudulent Buyer Scam
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Investigators recover pair of 2006 BMWs and a Range Rover in latest pinch
SacramentoThe California Department of Motor Vehicles today announced that a team of investigators from its Culver City, Canoga Park and Lincoln Park districts uncovered an elaborate fraudulent buyer scam that resulted in the recovery of several vehicles and the arrest of three individuals for document fraud and identity theft.
A 2006 Range Rover valued at $105,000 was intercepted and kept from being fraudulently sold and delivered, and three 2006 BMWs were recovered with a value of $250,000. Several other 2006 BMWs are expected to be recovered.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to recover these vehicles for the dealers,” said DMV Director George Valverde. “Through the combined efforts of our investigations team, these arrests send a loud and clear message that individuals using fraudulent identification or licenses for personal gain will not be tolerated.”
Arrested were April Wozencroft, 23, of Chino Hills; Geoffrey Hull, 26, of Playa Vista and Michael Green, 25, of Panorama City. Green was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant and for driving on a suspended license. A fourth person, Vince Murphy of Newhall, was issued a misdemeanor citation for operating with a fraudulent dealer’s license.
In Culver City on Thursday, Nov. 9, DMV investigators arrested Wozencroft, who attempted to purchase a late-model Range Rover from Ventura Jaguar/Range Rover using a fake Nevada driver license and identity of another woman. She was arrested for identity theft, possession of a document with a counterfeit state or government seal and conspiracy. Wozencroft was booked at the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Detention Facility at Lynwood.
The arrest operation was prompted when DMV Investigator George Zosimo received a tip from a new car dealer that an individual identified as Vince Murphy, the “owner” of Imperial Auto Sales was attempting to broker a deal for a “client” for a new Range Rover. Employees of the new car dealership became suspicious of the vehicle dealer license that Murphy presented, and a subsequent check of the license number by investigator Zosimo revealed that it actually belonged to another dealer in Orange County. The real Imperial Auto Sales stopped doing business in June, 2006.
During reviews of documents at Ventura Jaguar/Range Rover, investigator Zosimo noticed numerous inquiries regarding Wozencroft’s credit and financial background including a recent inquiry made by Valencia BMW. Zosimo contacted the dealer regarding their credit inquiries on Wozencroft and discovered that they had sold two 2006 BMWs to her the day before. Both deals were brokered by Murphy using his fraudulent dealer’s license.
Hull was arrested for conspiracy while working with Wozencroft to finalize the purchase of the Range Rover, and for aiding her in obtaining the fraudulent driver’s license. He was booked into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Inmate Reception Center. The three BMWs that were fraudulently purchased were recovered at the Culver City location.
The various suspects all face charges that include document fraud, identity theft and conspiracy. And most significantly, the investigation uncovered evidence that the individuals involved allegedly specialized in providing fraudulent credit reports in order to obtain the vehicles.
Further investigation has disclosed additional vehicles that may have been fraudulently obtained from Valencia BMW. Investigators also revealed that there may also be other dealers who were victimized by the suspects as part of their alleged scam to purchase vehicles using fraudulent buyers and documents. DMV investigators estimate the losses to dealer-victims could amount to as much as one million dollars.
The investigation is ongoing. Any other dealers who suspect they may be victims of these suspects should contact DMV Area Commander Vito Scattaglia 818-897-3886 or DMV Supervising Investigator Randy Vera at 818-702-2809.
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