Former Hoboken Council President Chris Campos was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a $7 million car loan scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Campos, 41, of Palisades Park, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 30 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in car loans, authorities said.
“Christopher Campos, an attorney and former Hoboken City Council president, defrauded lenders out of millions of dollars,” Kim said in a statement.
“He put up straw buyers to obtain loans for ‘personal use’ cars that in fact comprised a fleet of over 200 vehicles leased to livery drivers. Campos has now received the significant sentence his crimes merit.”
According to court documents, Campos used approximately 20 straw buyers to purchase more than 200 new cars based on false representations that, among other things, the straw buyers would use the cars for their personal use.
However, in reality, Campos and his co-conspirators obtained the vehicles in order to lease them as livery cabs, officials said.
After a week-long trial, he was found guilty of bank and wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, back on June 22. U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni presided over that trial and imposed today’s sentence.
Between approximately October 2012 and September 2013, Campos and his co-conspirator Julio Alvarez, among others, orchestrated a scheme to fraudulently obtain new automobiles that they intended to lease to livery cab drivers.
In order to secure financing in connection with the purchase of these new cars, Campos and other co-conspirators enlisted and aided individuals with good credit histories (“straw buyers”) to submit fraudulent car loan applications to numerous lenders.
Furthermore, to obtain the new vehicles, CAMPOS and other co-conspirators sent straw buyers to several car dealerships located throughout the New York City area, where dealership employees helped straw buyers submit fraudulent loan applications.
The auto loan applications submitted by the straw buyers falsely represented that the vehicles would be used for the buyers’ personal use, rather than as part of the defendants’ leasing business.
In addition, in many cases, the car loan applications misrepresented personal information about the straw buyers, including their incomes and assets.
Campos, also caused financing applications to be sent to multiple financial institutions at the same time so that the lenders would not know that the straw buyers were incurring obligations to other lenders in connection with the purchase of multiple new automobiles.
In total, the scheme carried out by Campos, Alvarez, and others involved approximately 20 straw buyers, the purchase of approximately 200 new vehicles, and ultimately resulted in lenders disbursing over $7,000,000 in fraudulently obtained car loans – which ultimately went into default.