DENVER – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Bill Leone, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, Richard C. Powers, Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Kathleen Roberts, Postal Inspector in Charge in Denver, announced that VICTOR BELOV, age 31, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Phillip S. Figa to serve 15 months in federal prison for being involved in a scheme to defraud the State of Colorado and individuals by selling salvaged automobiles without telling the purchasers that the cars were previously salvaged. The salvaged cars were purchased by, rebuilt, and fraudulently sold by Velvet Touch Auto Sales of Aurora. BELOV was ordered by Judge Figa to report to an institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons on or before February 27, 2005.
BELOV was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 7, 2004. He pled guilty on October 14, 2005. After BELOV serves his prison sentence immigration officials will determine his status in the United States.
According to the indictment, beginning in October 1999 and continuing through February 2003, BELOV falsely and fraudulently misrepresented facts concerning the use of automobile parts used and the extent of repairs made to repair salvage automobiles. He also did not disclose to the buyers of these automobiles that the vehicles were rebuilt from salvage vehicles or provide a State of Colorado mandated disclosure that the vehicles were rebuilt from salvage.
BELOV was an owner of Velvet Touch Auto Sales, located at 3740 Wheeling Street, Unit #9, in Aurora, Colorado. BELOV purchased salvaged vehicles and then fraudulently presented invoices and salvage title affidavits to the Denver Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol for automobile parts allegedly used to repair the salvaged vehicles. The salvage title affidavit was used to obtain a State of Colorado certified VIN inspection and a Colorado certificate of title. The defendant then obtained an automobile title. He misrepresented the extent of damage, the parts required to repair the vehicle, and the cost to repair the vehicle in the salvage title affidavit.
In some instances, BELOV obtained Colorado titles for an individual in Washington State, who had bribed yet another person – an employee of a sub-contractor of the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) – to issue a Washington State title that did not show that the vehicle had been rebuilt. BELOV used these “washed” Washington State titles to obtain “clean” Colorado titles. These vehicles were later able to be retitled in Washington State with a “clean” title. Interstate transfer of these titles enabled the scheme to go undetected for some time. Both of the people in Washington State were prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle in coordination with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.
As a part of the scheme, BELOV would misrepresent to vehicle purchasers that the automobiles to be sold had never been in an accident or repaired, thereby causing buyers to pay higher prices than they otherwise would have paid or to purchase vehicles they would not have purchased if they had known they were salvage vehicles. In addition to subjecting subsequent purchasers of these vehicles to fraudulently inflated prices, this scheme misled purchasers about the safety of these vehicles. Cars damaged in previous collisions may not always be as able to withstand damage as they once were. One purpose of salvage titles is to alert purchasers to the fact that safety systems may be compromised.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Colorado Department of Revenue Auto Industry Division, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Mackey.