FORMER BRONX CAR DEALER CONVICTED OF CHEATING DOZENS OF
UNSUSPECTING CUSTOMERS MUST SERVE TIME IN JAIL AND PAY HALF A
MILLION DOLLARS RESTITUTION
Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced today that the owner of a now defunct car dealership has been convicted of stealing half a million dollars from more than four dozen customers between January 2005 and May 2006.
Robert Federico, 48, pled guilty to one count of Grand larceny in the 3rd degree and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the 1st degree. The guilty plea was entered before State Supreme Court Justice John Byrne who set sentencing for January 28, 2009 in Part A. Federico was the owner of Courtesy Lincoln Mercury Incorporated which was located at 2131 Boston Road until May 2006 when it went out of business.
Federico’s most serious offense, Grand larceny in the 3rd degree, is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 7 years imprisonment, however under terms of this plea agreement he will be sentenced to serve 4 months of weekends in jail and 5 years probation. In addition, he must pay $500,000 in restitution to all 50 victims. Federico, of Putnam Valley, New York, has been ordered to pay $250,000 on the date of sentencing with the remaining $250,000 to be paid during the 5 year probationary period. Failure to make complete restitution will result in the imposition of a 2 to 6 year term in state prison.
Federico’s scheme to defraud his victims involved several different scenarios. Some people purchased used cars and were unable to register the vehicles because Federico had failed to pay the liens held by the previous owners’ banks. Other victims discovered that the liens on cars that they had traded in had not been paid leaving them liable for loans on both their new and old vehicles. In some cases customers paid the defendant as much as $1,900 to purchase an extended manufacturers warranty on their vehicle. Federico pocketed the money instead, something the victims were unaware of until after they attempted to have their car serviced under the warranty. Federico also went to two different banks on behalf of customers seeking financing, obtaining loans on the same car from both institutions, and then pocketing the proceeds from one of the loans.
Federico was arrested on June 22, 2008 following an investigation which the Bronx District Attorney’s Office launched after being contacted by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV became involved as a result of numerous complaints by people who had purchased cars from Federico only to discover that they could not register the vehicles.
DA Johnson thanked members of his staff assigned to the Investigations Division’s Arson/Auto/Economic Crime Bureau and Bronx DA Detective Investigators Unit, in particular Senior Investigative Assistant District Attorney Richard Baker and Detective Investigator Joseph Iodice, for the hard work and dedication that resulted in today’s conviction.