The importance of following ethical standards in vehicle sales became painfully clear to one New Jersey man in recent dealer news. Defrauding customers led to a three-year prison sentence for 42-year-old Jonathan Olin of Manalapan.
In August 2014 Olin pled guilty to second-degree theft by deception after he was charged with selling cars with fraudulent vehicle titles. Adding another layer to his dishonesty, the cars that were illegally sold had been damaged in super storm Sandy. The titles were a way to avoid full disclosure of their condition to unsuspecting customers.
Olin operated through his car dealership D&D Auto Sales, the DBA of Pinky N Brain Corp NJ. He enlisted the help of Jessie Dinome, a former employee at the Freehold Motor Vehicle Agency, who used the Motor Vehicle Commission’s computer system to create clean titles for the cars. The autos were then transferred to D&D with forged signatures of the previous owners. Ms. Dinome is currently serving two years of probation and is banned from future public employment.
Jacob Douek, a former salesman at D&D Auto Sales, is awaiting trial for charges based on his alleged role in deceiving customers about the vehicles. Christina Farese, a clerk/receptionist at the dealership, was also charged in the scheme but was admitted to a pre-trial intervention program.
Eight storm-damaged vehicles obtained by Pinky N Brain had been paid out by the insuring company as total losses. They were then put up for auction without titles using bills of sale. All had been designated for parts-only use.
After obtaining the fraudulent titles from Dinome, D&D sold seven of the vehicles for a total of approximately $86,000. Douek is believed to have misled at least one of the unsuspecting customers regarding the flood damage as well as storm-related information that was revealed in a corresponding CarFax report.
A news release about the case quoted Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in calling Olin “the lowest form of con artist and parasite” which landed the car dealer in jail for taking advantage of the super storm Sandy tragedy. D&D’s license has been suspended since records were seized in July 2013.