The world of high-end automobiles is full of long waits and high price tags and this seems to have made it the perfect environment for fraud.
In an interesting new report, The Drive takes a deep dive into a lawsuit filed against an employee at largest Porsche dealer in the United States – Champion Porsche of Pompano Beach, Florida. As the largest Porsche dealer in the country, Champion Porsche was a natural location for buyers to order rare and limited edition models which were both expensive and highly sought after.
Unfortunately, it appears the dealership’s vice president of marketing concocted an elaborate scheme which bilked customers out of over $2.5 (£1.9 / €2.1) million. Citing the lawsuit, the publication says Shiraaz Sookralli ran into financial difficulties so he created a shell company called Champion Autosport. He then directed customers of Champion Porsche, who were ordering models such as the 911 GT3 and GT3 RS, to wire money to the fake company.
To help the scheme look more legitimate, Sookralli reportedly created “Buyers Deposit Agreements” in Champion Autosport’s name. He then reportedly inserted fake build numbers or build numbers for other cars into the agreements.
To customers, everything would seem legitimate on the surface. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to have been the case as Sookralli has reportedly taken the money and run. However, the lawsuit says Sookralli admitted to the scheme and acknowledged it involved at least 24 transactions.
If the story wasn’t bizarre enough, The Drive notes that both Champion Porsche and Sookralli were involved in a similar situation including two 911 R models. In that case, M & L Luxury Cars attempted to purchase one of the cars through Champion Porsche and another from an alleged Sookralli shell company called Rampage Motors Inc.
One of the cars wasn’t delivered, but the second one was – with a $350,000 (£267,820 / €300,881) markup. That markup is interesting to note as it’s the exact same price as the deposit for the 911 R that was never delivered and M & L Luxury Cars wanted that money back.
The whole situation sounds like a mess for everyone involved and you can read more about the bizarre story here.