According to Ohio prosecutors, 17 people are facing charges for their participation in a car theft ring. The alleged thieves apparently stole high-end vehicles, including cars made by luxury car companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi, from residents and car rental companies in several states. They would also apparently use third parties to lease vehicles without intending on returning the cars to the dealerships.
Those participating would then reportedly drive the vehicles to Hamilton County, Ohio, where they would alter their vehicle identification numbers and fraudulently use title paper and documentation stolen from Georgia motor vehicle offices to create fake titles and registrations.
Once the cars had their fake documentation, the vehicles were driven to Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices in Ohio to transfer the titles to Ohio. In other words, the alleged perpetrators were using real Georgia titles with fake VIN numbers to obtain fully authentic Ohio titles, as if the cars were legitimately purchased from Georgia car owners. The alleged thieves would then use the vehicles to make money by staging accidents, insuring the vehicles or selling the vehicles to unsuspecting buyers.
Violating Ohio's Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Act or other state fraud laws can result in criminal charges with severe consequences. Many people convicted of fraud-related crimes in Ohio face years in prison and significant fines. To potentially avoid these consequences, you should consider speaking to a criminal defense attorney with experience dealing with crimes involving theft, fraud and other white collar crimes. Your attorney can come up with a solid defense strategy that could lead to an appropriate result in your case.