HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Owners of a Harrisburg car dealership were charged after they obtained nearly $75,000 from allegedly selling unroadworthy vehicles or accepting down payments on vehicles that were never sold to customers.
On Sep. 19, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of State Investigators notified the State Police Vehicle Fraud Investigation Unit in Harrisburg regarding vehicles being advertised online by a Harrisburg dealership.
Power Auto Sales LLC was allegedly advertising vehicles for sale with counterfeit stickers, police say.
According to police, the owner of the dealership, 23-year-old Ilham Driouich of Enola, and her husband, 28-year-old Anas Soubai of Harrisburg, began operating the business before it was officially licensed on March 10, 2022.
The couple allegedly began advertising their vehicles on Facebook Marketplace under the alias names of Mercedes Sbai and Adam Gio, police say.
Investigation revealed that Soubai was an unlicensed salesperson who was representing himself as a car dealer. Police say that Soubai initially bid on vehicles at America’s Auto Auction Harrisburg by using the bidder badge number of another dealership, Four Stars Auto Exchange.
Police say that the vehicles Soubai purchased for Power Auto Sales LLC were then sold to customers through Four Stars Auto Exchange Inc.
After the car dealership became licensed, the company continued to operate the business while utilizing employees who weren’t properly licensed to sell vehicles, police say.
According to police, Driouich and Soubai deceived customers by advertising vehicles with counterfeit inspection stickers, incorrect model years, and incorrect odometer mileage to make them appear newer. The couple also allegedly offered warranties that never existed.
Documentation of these transactions is required by law, however, the dealership failed to retain any sort of documentation of paperwork for each sale and its physical location, according to police. The dealership is also alleged to have failed to provide customers with copies of the documentation.
Police later found that on Oct. 10, 2022, Driouich and Soubai were in possession of a 2019 Maserati Ghibli that was reported stolen in Avon, Ohio. The couple purchased the vehicle through Facebook Marketplace. They then drove five hours to Cleveland to purchase the vehicle. The couple tried to sell the vehicle on Facebook Marketplace, telling prospective buyers that they “lost the title.”
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According to police, Power Auto Sales LLC obtained around $74,750 from a total of 18 different customers by selling them unroadworthy vehicles or through accepting down payments on vehicles that were never sold to the customer.
Driouich was charged with Dealing In Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Deceptive or Fraudulent Business Practices; Theft by Deception; Receiving Stolen Property; Altered, Forged or Counterfeit Documents and Plates; and Board of Vehicles Act Violations.
Soubai was charged with Dealing In Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Deceptive or Fraudulent Business Practices; Theft by Deception; Impersonating a Notary Public or a Holder of a Professional or Occupational License; Receiving Stolen Property; Altered, Forged, or Counterfeit Documents and Plates; and Board of Vehicles Act Violations.
Four employees from the dealership all faced a Board of Vehicles Act Violations charge. The four are residents of Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, Elizabethtown, and Etters.