Spota Says Suspects Targeted Rental Car Companies At Airports

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Three Long Island men used counterfeit credit cards and phony driver’s licenses to rent cars at airports and then sell the vehicles at deeply discounted prices, prosecutors said Wednesday.

A 23-year-old suspect, working in the bedroom of his parents’ Lindenhurst home, used stolen information to create fake credit cards and driver’s licenses using equipment he got on eBay, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

The fake credentials would then be used to rent high-end vehicles “with all the bells and whistles” from rental car companies at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports, Spota said.

The suspects then “sold their rental cars for pennies on the dollar,” Spota said.

An undercover detective paid $2,100 for a new Cadillac, which has a resale value of approximately $48,000, and a 2012 Mercedes with a retail value of $46,000 was purchased for $3,000, authorities said.

Spota said the car rental companies apparently did not discover the vehicles missing until several weeks after they had already been sold.

“This scheme illustrates to all of us what is happening today, with not only consumers who use credit cards, but businesses who are accepting credit cards, the dangers that lurk out there,” Spota said. “Unfortunately for the businesses, it’s a tremendously high loss.”

Most of the vehicles were sold to buyers in South America, Spota said.

Authorities recovered 10 automobiles in the scheme, but they said they were still assessing how many vehicles may have been involved.

A fourth suspect was arrested during the investigation and faces a drug charge.

The investigation is ongoing and further arrests are possible.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories:

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE