Guam Residents Unknowingly 'Owned' Luxury Vehicles in Export Scheme

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
guam residents unknowingly owned luxury vehicles in export scheme

Guam, besides having the highest per-capita Spam consumption in the world (16 tins per person, on average), is also home to a recently uncovered fraud scheme that placed high-end vehicles in the driveways of island residents.

On paper, anyway. The unsuspecting residents — over 50 of them, authorities say — had no idea their names were placed next to luxury SUV registrations in the Department of Motor Vehicles database.

The Guam Daily Post reports that a luxury vehicle dealership, its sales manager, and a tax preparer face a 29-charge indictment for their roles in a fraudulent export scheme. It is alleged that the two individuals tapped personal information from tax documents to register high-end vehicles in Guam before shipping them to wealthy buyers in China.

A joint investigation by the FBI and Office of the Attorney General blew the lid off the scheme. Facing charges that include identity theft, forgery and conspiracy are Prestige Automobiles, sales manager Orlando P. Domingo, and Ana Kristine Absalon. The scheme is similar to recent crimes uncovered in the continental U.S.

Authorities claim the investigation began after a Guam resident received shocking news. In July, 2015, a man applying for social assistance learned that he was, in fact, the proud owner of two top-spec SUVS — a Range Rover Sport and BMW X5 — which he had apparently bought at Prestige Automobiles for the princely sum of $133,000. The man’s personal information was used to register the vehicles in Guam. False insurance information and a phony bill of sale apparently sealed the “deal.”

The same process was followed for other Range Rover and BMW sales. First, Absalon allegedly provided Domingo with personal information from her clients. Once in the hands of unsuspecting “owners,” the vehicles were then exported to China, where buyers paid a steep premium for the rolling luxury — likely two or three times the U.S. asking price.

The Pacific Daily News reports that Absalon was formerly employed at Prestige. Documents filed by a local prosecutor claim dealership employees tried to de-register vehicles after the “owners” discovered the fraud.

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  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.