• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Miami dealership employee accused of taking $180,000, not delivering the cars


May 16, 2023
Miami dealership employee accused of taking $180,000, not delivering the cars


Law enforcement officers in Miami have arrested a man accused of scamming at least 11 people out of $179,800 in cash. Carlos Ravelo, the 51-year-old suspect, allegedly took advantage of positions in the finance department of a Honda dealership to organize the crimes.

It sounds like the same scam was pulled several times. Olga Tellez, a victim, told local news channel NBC6 Miami that she visited the AutoNation Honda store in Miami Lakes in December 2022 to buy a car. Ravelo worked there at the time, and Tellez said he offered to sell her and her husband a 2019 Honda CR-V for $12,000 — if they paid in cash. That’s far below the crossover’s market value and one heck of a deal.

“He let us ride in the car, he gave me the VIN, the receipt, making it seem like everything was legit,” she told the outlet.

The couple withdrew the money, paid for the CR-V, and returned to the dealership the following day to pick it up as instructed but was told that it wasn’t available. Tellez never got her car, and she’s not the only one. Local newspaper the Miami Herald reports that another customer gave Ravelo $32,000 in cash in two installments to pay for an unspecified car and wasn’t able to pick it up as intended. Ravelo “gave her an excuse as to why she couldn’t take the vehicle on the day of the final payment. After a few weeks, [he] stopped picking up the victim’s phone calls, and the victim demanded her money back,” according to a police report. She was told that he no longer worked at the dealership.

Ravelo allegedly pocketed $179,800 in cash. Police said one customer gave him $50,000 in cash. Some of the victims knew him or had ties to him and his family, which made the scam easy to set up, while others received a personal check while they waited to take delivery of their next car. The check bounced when deposited.

Police arrested Ravelo on May 1 and took him to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center where he is awaiting trial. He is charged with eight counts of third-degree grand theft, two counts of second-degree grand theft from $20,000 to $100,000, four counts of worthless check given, one count of theft from an elderly person from $10,000 to $50,000, and one count of organized scheme to defraud, according to the Herald. His bond has been set at $45,000, but he must prove that the money comes from legitimate sources.

Miami-Dade police have identified 11 victims but believe there may be more. Police are asking anyone who thinks they have been scammed by Ravelo or another used-car sales person to contact them at 305-994-1000. AutoNation is cooperating with the investigation, NBC6 learned.

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