The FBI on Friday charged a West African gentleman with stealing several identities to acquire or lease at minimum 10 large-finish, luxury autos from dealerships across the nation, such as two in Pittsburgh.
Serge Ahmed Zeba, 30, was billed with aggravated identification theft and wire fraud in federal courtroom.
The 23-web site legal complaint lays out an ongoing study course of conduct, from Pittsburgh to Savannah, Ga. to Lincoln, Neb., in which Zeba would apply for credit score applying stolen identities and then endeavor to acquire or lease new, or costly automobiles.
When he was accredited for the discounts — which transpired at the very least 5 occasions — he paid out using fraudulent income orders.
Zeba, who was born in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and arrived to the United States in 2013, has a number of arrest warrants in many states for similar fraudulent conduct, the FBI said.
In accordance to the criminal complaint, he stole the identities of at minimum 7 people today.
Zeba, who statements to be a recording artist, musician and celebration promoter, was taken into custody by law enforcement officers in Alexandria, Va., on Jan. 26. Officers in the Washington, D.C., metro space had been on the lookout for him just after they acquired a idea.
That night time, officers on foot patrol in close proximity to a resort stopped a gentleman they observed driving a model new BMW X6. According to the criticism, the gentleman delivered a fraudulent driver’s license, but when they ran his fingerprints, they traced back again to Zeba.
The BMW’s license plate confirmed it had been stolen in Baltimore County.
The legal conduct laid out in the criticism dates back again to at the very least 2020.
• On Dec. 8, 2020, investigators stated that Zeba, employing a stolen id, was approved to lease a 2021 BMW X6 from a dealership in Savannah. He paid $5,000 in fraudulent cash orders and still left with the vehicle. Soon after it was documented stolen, the auto was tracked to New York Town, and when law enforcement officers arrived, Zeba was inside.
It is unclear from the complaint if Zeba was charged at the time, and if so when, or how he was unveiled.
On the other hand, the criticism goes on to accuse him of a number of additional incidents from July by means of final month.
• Previous July 27, the complaint stated, Zeba utilized an additional stolen identification to buy a 2022 BMW 840XI, priced at $88,275 from BMW of Lincoln, Neb. In that occasion, investigators explained he created once more the down payment with $5,000 worth of fraudulent cash orders.
• On Aug. 21, the grievance stated Zeba attempted to lease a 2021 Mercedes Benz AMG GT valued at $108,570 from a dealership in Dublin, Ohio. Nevertheless, the financial institution that gained the application refused to finance the quantity, and the transaction was declined.
The dealership tried out to get the buyer back to their good deal as they attempted to contact area police, but the individual refused.
• About that very same time, the criticism explained, Zeba submitted an on the internet software utilizing a stolen id to lease a 2021 Lexus RX350 with a sticker value of $60,529 from Rohrich Lexus in Pittsburgh.
Immediately after completing the online credit history software, it was approved and Zeba arrived at the seller Aug. 24. Utilizing a few $1,000 income orders for a down payment, he left with the car.
The funds orders were returned as fraudulent on Sept. 17, and the car or truck was documented stolen.
• Then, on Aug. 29, the criticism explained, Zeba, continue to employing a stolen identification, went to P&W BMW on Baum Boulevard to lease a 2022 BMW M850i X-Push with a sticker cost of $104,675.
The credit history line was approved, and Zeba picked up the motor vehicle a couple times later, delivering a down payment of $7,000 in revenue orders.
All over again the funds orders were returned as fraudulent, and the vehicle was documented as stolen.
Cadillac, Audi, BMW, 2 Lamborghinis
• On Sept. 4, the FBI said Zeba attempted to get a 2021 Cadillac Escalade valued at $105,238 in Bethesda, Md. But in that occasion, his funding application was declined.
• On Oct. 19, Zeba attempted to invest in a 2021 Audi Q8 with a sticker rate of $81,945 in Omaha. A credit score fraud professional who turned suspicious alerted the Pennsylvania Condition Law enforcement, Western Regional Automobile Theft Activity Power, which experienced started an investigation. The dealership tried to stall the person at the dealership, but he remaining prior to officers could arrive.
• On Dec. 4, Zeba requested to lease a 2022 BMW x6 priced at $91,645 at a dealership in Towson, Md. He submitted a credit application in the name of a person of numerous identities he was alleged to have applied and was permitted.
He compensated with 5 $1,000 income orders and remaining with the auto. 13 times afterwards, BMW Monetary located the income orders were fraudulent, the grievance claimed, and the auto was claimed stolen to the police.
• Then, on Jan. 10, investigators mentioned Zeba tried to invest in a 2015 Lamborghini Huracan for $238,900 from a dealership in Lincoln, Neb., utilizing $10,000 in income orders for the down payment. In that circumstance, the dealership grew to become suspicious, the affidavit claimed, and stopped the transaction.
• Investigators observed, by way of monitoring the stolen identities, that an more acquire endeavor happened — and unsuccessful — in Atlanta for a 2021 Lamborghini Urus for $250,000.
According to the prison grievance, the BMW stolen from Nebraska was observed in a garage by Metropolitan police in Washington, D.C., alongside with a Lexus stolen from Lincoln, as well.
When investigators searched Zeba’s hotel space in Alexandria, they found what they consider to be instruments of the identity theft trade.
All those objects integrated a laser printer, Scotch tape, checks made out in different names 10 drivers’ licenses with many names and issued by a variety of states — most of them fraudulent a number of financial institution playing cards in distinct names or with no names a number of blank income orders office environment supplies and a Dremel Tool with a great sanding little bit, which the criticism claimed is tradecraft to peel away or “wash” reputable files.
They also located a fraudulent American permanent resident card in Zeba’s title. He is in custody in Alexandra.