Fraudsters plead guilty in $1m auto loan scheme

© Can Stock Photo / albund

Fraudsters John O’Day and Denise White each face a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for a scheme that racked up more than $1 million in fake auto loan applications, the Department of Justice announced last week. 

The scheme, which ran from April 2016 to January 2018, defrauded five auto lenders and 20 victims. Co-conspirators O’Day and White admitted to sending 30 fraudulent applications for auto loans to financial institutions falsely listing O’Day as the seller of various vehicles, the DOJ noted. 

At least 27 of the fraudulent applications were approved and resulted in the disbursement of loan checks totaling $1,167,192. O’Day deposited the money in his personal bank accounts in Maryland. 

To work the scheme, O’Day recruited individuals to list themselves as applicants for auto loans under false promises and pretenses. O’Day falsely promised that he would pay off the auto loans within 90 days and that the individuals would not be responsible for payments. 

O’Day made payments in smaller amounts to most of the individuals to assist them temporarily in making periodic payments on the loans and to compensate them for their involvement in the scheme. Eventually, he stopped assisting with their payments and failed to pay off the loans he promised — leaving most of the individuals liable for the loans. 

O’Day and White would then submit more applications in the individuals’ name — using the personal identification information of at least five individuals, without their knowledge or approval, to submit fraudulent loan applications. Two of the applications were approved and resulted in loan checks totaling $98,000.

Sentencing for O’Day is scheduled on Nov. 8 and for White on Nov. 15. Each faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft. 

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