Car dealer charged after selling Sandy-damaged vehicles

Dray Clark has the story.
December 20, 2013 8:19:25 PM PST
There are still vehicles on the lot, but the owners of D & D Auto Sales in Middlesex County lost their license to sell in July.

Investigators say the owners exploited Superstorm Sandy victims and duped customers, selling them storm damaged cars.

The cars were meant to be salvaged, not sold.

"Capitalizing on Sandy is about as low as you can get," said Elie Honig, of the New Jersey Criminal Justice Division.

The Attorney General's office charged Jonathan Olin, Jessie DiNome, Christina Farese, and Jacob Douek with fraud and theft.

They're accused of carrying out their scheme between February and July of this year.

They allegedly acquired eight storm damaged vehicles at auction and resold seven of them with clean titles.

"They have inside help at the MVC, the Motor Vehicle Commission, who falsely issues the titles saying these cars were like new," Honig said.

The AG's office says it learned about fraud after an ABC News investigation.

A producer went undercover and purchased this Ford 150 from the dealership for 20,000.

The truck should've been sold for parts.

They took the truck back to its former owner who watched the water swallow his truck in the storm.

"She was under water for two days," the owner said.

The next stop was a mechanic.

"That's definitely water driven, no doubt about it. That's like fine silt. This thing might catch fire," the mechanic said.

Investigators say that's the larger problem, the vehicles are dangerous on the road.

It always recommended you do your homework before buying a used car.

Check the title, do a background check, and have a mechanic look under the hood, just a few things you can do.

"I'm not sure in this case there isn't a whole lot the consumer could have done because the title was real in the sense that it was issued by MVC," Honig said.