3 men arrested in Suffolk Co. for rental car scam

Stacey Sager has the story from LaGuardia Airport
October 16, 2013 2:46:15 PM PDT
A stolen car scheme involved a stop at the rental car counter at local airports.

"They would just run it right through. It'd take a second," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

A skimmer was used at a major retail chain in Long Island, and lots of equipment was used to make phony drivers licenses and credit cards.

That's how investigators say 23-year-old Jason Gonzalez worked with two men, Jose Lopez and Feliz Sanchez. They would rent cars from companies at area airports only to steal the cars, and then sell them before the car rental companies ever noticed.

"There were a lot of victims because we have obtained from the computer, hundreds," Spota said.

Hundreds of tri-state area residents had their identities stolen, either right through the skimmers or through an off-shore website. Then, fancy cars bought in their name and resold, for pennies on the dollar.

Investigators stumbled upon the whole scheme because they were initially investigating these four men for selling drugs.

Authorities say Gonzalez was the mastermind behind all the identity theft, and that he actually kept all his equipment in his bedroom inside his parent's rented home in Lindenhurst.

"I don't know how the parents didn't know anything, they're like, 'Oh, I didn't know anything, we had no idea.' How could you not have any idea what your son is doing?" said Peter Famighetti, the defendant's landlord.

Bottom line, keep your credit card in your sights at all times.

"The scheme illustrates what is happening, dangers that lurk out there," Spota said.