A Bucks County man has been arrested for allegedly selling cars to about 140 Russian citizens but not shipping them overseas, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey announced Thursday.
Sergey Kapustin, 47, of Warminster, was charged with once count of wire fraud and conspiring to commit wire fraud.
Kapustin was the owner and president of Global Auto Group, Effect Auto Sales and G Auto Sales in Elizabeth, which marketed high-end salvage cars for sale over the internet using Russian language websites, prosecutors said.
The cars, usually Lexuses and Mercedes, were priced below market value and were to be shipped to Finland if the buyer paid full price, according to court documents.
After the money was wired to bank accounts, Kapustin, who did not have possession or titles to the cars, would allegedly give excuses why there was a delay in delivery. Victims would then be offered different cars. In some cases buyers would wire additional money, according to court documents.
Prosecutors estimate Kapustin stole about $2 million, according to court documents.
"The very few cars that did land in Finland were normally the product of salvage auctions for vehicles that had been immersed in or flooded with salt water and were inoperable," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.