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Auto Recyclers Face Off Against Criminals


2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S

2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S

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If Tony Soprano made it out of that diner, he is probably using auto auctions to defraud unsuspecting consumers buying luxury cars. In a cover article of the online version of the American Recycler the ugly truth is laid out in a very vivid account of a 2007 Porsche 911.

The National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP) looks out for the public and partners with national and international law enforcement agencies to control “auto theft, fraud and illegal export of vehicles.”

NSVRP traced a flattened Porsche 911 as it was purchased with a clean title at auction for $16,500 in spite of its ready for the shredder condition. From there it was shipped by container to Hamburg Germany at a cost of $3,500. The $20,000 investment in a clean title and a good VIN number then allows the crooks to leverage their purchase in a number of creative ways.

The article speculates that the perpetrators could steal numerous similar vehicles from different countries and title them as the U.S. born 911 (countries do not share vehicle information), and then sell them to unsuspecting consumers. They could also title and insure the original wreck and then stage its theft and collect the replacement value from the insurer.

Howard Nusbaum the founder and administrator of NSVRP said: “There are documented cases where vehicles are purchased at United States auctions, exported and wind up delivering car bombs in Iraq,”

Despite the efforts of industry trade groups like the American Recyclers Association (ARA), criminals use the cash nature of the industry to facilitate “ money laundering, drug trafficking, automotive theft and fraud,” according to Michael E. Wilson CEO of ARA.

Add to these organized activities, the unscrupulous homegrown freelancer who buys an unsafe vehicle form an auction and then cosmetically rehabs it and sells it in its unsafe condition and you have a situation that puts everyone on the road in jeopardy. “I know of some bad ones that stuff newspapers where airbags should be and paint over the warning light on the dash,” said Nusbaum.    

The recyclers, led by their industry groups, hope to appeal to lawmakers on a state by state basis to discourage criminal activity by accurate and pervasive reporting requirements. They also want to voice opposition to unscrupulous auction operators, properly register buyers to avoid wrecks being returned to the road and require insurance companies to clearly designate total wrecks so they don’t end up in the hands of criminals.

[American Recycler]   

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