HOUSTON – Diamond Jones is the latest to join a growing list of serial fraudsters accused of using fake identities to buy multiple high-end vehicles from Houston area dealerships valued at more than $130,000, according to the Houston Police Department.
On Tuesday, Houston police said Jones attempted to use a fake driver’s license bearing the name “Eva Sorrentino” to buy a vehicle valued at close to $80,000 from a local dealership. That information led police to another dealership where they arrested Jones after they said she attempted to buy another vehicle using the same name.
“They try and get as many as they can. Sometimes that can be one, sometimes it can be two, sometimes it can be multiple vehicles,” said Sgt. D. Schlosser with HPD’s Auto Theft Division.
It’s an elaborate scheme.
During the past three years, through its network with Houston area car dealerships, HPD has prevented over $4 million in fraud by arrested the accused thieves on the spot.
“When we find new information regarding incidents and crimes that are occurring, we send out those notifications to the dealerships,” Sgt. Schlosser said.
The Houston Automotive Dealers Association works closely with HPD to not only help them catch the bad guys but to also educate dealerships on how to train employees to spot red flags when someone comes in to buy a vehicle.
“We have databases we can access remotely in order to verify identification, drivers license,” Sgt. Schlosser said.
Police said these are not victimless crimes. Every time someone doesn’t get caught, the cost can be passed onto to the consumer.
“It does have a trickle-down effect. Thankfully, there are systems in place to not impact the consumer as much. But when any theft happens, it’s definitely impacting more than one person,” said Roshelle Salinas, Vice President of Houston Automotive Dealers Association.