Burien dealership ‘taken for a ride' by suspected ID thief

The search is on for a suspected identity thief who took a car dealership in Burien for a ride.

BURIEN, Wash. – Legend Auto Sales, Inc. says a transaction this week appeared to check out at first, but it was not legitimate at all.

Just before closing time on Monday night, a woman arrived with a man by her side, and Salesman James Valiere says she was ready to make a deal.

Not everyone comes in with a preapproval letter. I mean, a preapproval letter means the customer did their diligence, they went to their bank, they are ready to go,” said Valiere.

Valiere says the woman was preapproved for a more than $30,000 loan. She looked at three vehicles and test drove each one. She ended up choosing a light grey, 2007 Cadillac Escalade worth more than $20,000, according to the dealership.

Vladimir Moskalenko, the dealership’s owner, says the customer presented a driver’s license and her credit looked good. The bad news was the next morning.

"When we submitted the deal to the bank, it came back as declined,” said Moskalenko.

The bank said it was identity theft.

According to Valiere, the driver’s license photo was tampered with so it looked like the customer, but the information, including a social security number, turned out to belong to someone else.

The victim of the identity theft wants to remain anonymous. She told KING 5 the fraudulent charges began about a month ago. Someone opened up credit cards in her name, and charged thousands of dollars. She has been working with her bank to get to the bottom of it. Now she has to file another police report after Monday’s fraudulent vehicle purchase.

“It is just frustrating how people get away with these things,” said Moskalenko.

The suspected identity thief was able to drive the Escalade off the lot. The dealership is working with their insurance company and police. Legend Auto Sales is offering a $1,000 reward to the first person who comes forward with information that either leads to an arrest in this case or results in the vehicle being recovered.

Copyright 2016 KING


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