Hot Wheels: FBI Takes Down Car-Cloning Rings in 4 Cities

Apr 02, 2009

After a nearly two-year investigation, the FBI announced the breakup of a major organized crime ring that has been involved in vehicle cloning in Tampa, Miami, Chicago and Mexico.

Car-cloning involves taking a stolen vehicle and giving it the same identity and VIN number as a legally-owned vehicle of the same make and model. The cloned car is outfitted with counterfeit labels, plates, stickers, and titles, then passed off as a legitimate vehicle.

In this case, more then 1,000 cloned vehicles were transported and sold to buyers in 20 states and in several countries. Many of the buyers purchased the vehicles for significantly under the fair market value.

The individuals have been operating within the United States for nearly 20 years and in Mexico since at least 2004 and officials are estimating that they created more than $25 million dollars in losses to consumers and victims. 

Remember, if a deal on a car sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.

Read more about this story at the National Insurace Crime Bureau.