New Jersey Used Car Dealer Convicted of Selling Flood-Damaged Cars
|   Monday, December 29, 2014
When Superstorm Sandy ravaged the coast of New Jersey and New York many businesses lost billions and spent billions to recover. Most car dealers did the right thing in trashing their inventory and, using their flood insurance protection, replaced the cars that were lost.

One dealer reportedly went the other way – confirming the long-held view of many that used car dealers are somewhat shady – by buying what are known as "flood cars" or "flood-damaged cars" and selling them back to buyers, who had just lost their vehicles and needed transportation.


According to RLSmedia, Jonathan Olin, 42, owner of D&D used cars pled guilty in Middlesex County Superior Court to one count of theft by deception and faces three years in jail, the loss of his dealer's license and paying $86,000 for selling seven Sandy-damaged cars to unsuspecting buyers. His co-defendant in the scheme, Jessie Dimone, 30, a former technician at the Department of Motor Vehicles, accessed and cleaned the vehicle titles, which should have been marked up so resale was barred, so the vehicles could be resold. She pled guilty to one county of third degree theft by deception and faces a year in jail and probation. She is barred from working in the public sector again. A third defendant, a former salesman at D&D, located in Englishtown, NJ, faces charges that he misled a customer about the Sandy-damaged cars, managing to convince the customer to ignore the reported damage in a CarFax report that showed it was a flood-car.

In the scheme, Olin told Dimone to clean and transfer the titles of eight flood-cars to D&D. She worked with another person, not identified, to access the DMV computer system, clean the title and then forged the former owner's signature to transfer the car to Pinky n Brain Corp., the holding company that owned D&D. Dimone was fired from her job on the spot for her complicity in the scheme.

An obviously angry Acting Attorney General John Hoffman blasted the schemers for the temerity of their plan. Quoting RLSmedia, Hoffman told reporters: "By ruthlessly cashing in on Superstorm Sandy, Olin not only cheated customers of his car dealership, he put those customers and other motorists at risk, because these flood-damaged vehicles had the potential to fail and even catch fire on the highway. Two of the cars did, in fact, fail shortly after they were purchased, but fortunately no one was hurt."
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