The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, based in Chicago, announced the guilty plea of a Northbrook, Illinois man to illegally obtaining clean titles for approximately 180 salvaged and rebuilt vehicles and putting them to use as taxicabs on the streets of Chicago for a period of over two years between 2007 to 2010.
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The defendant entered a plea agreement wherein he admitted to fraudulently obtaining paperwork (conspiracy to transport, receive and possess a counterfeit security) to conceal the history of the damaged cars in order to bypass City of Chicago laws that prohibit the use of salvaged and rebuilt vehicles as taxicabs. Nevertheless, the defendant reserved the right to dispute the total number of vehicles involved in the scheme for his open plea sentencing hearing in November which he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense.
Among the companies using such illegal taxicab vehicles were Chicago Elite Cab Corp. and Chicago Carriage Taxi Company via Seven Amigos Used Cars.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
After procuring from online auction sites significantly damaged cars with salvage titles, Igolnikov and his associates fraudulently obtained “rebuilt” titles for those damaged vehicles by submitting false paperwork– including affidavits with the forged signature of an Indiana law enforcement officer—to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the plea agreement states. The vehicles were then transported to the Chicago business of , which was also used by . After obtaining the Indiana rebuilt title for a salvaged vehicle, Igolnikov and his associates placed a sticker over the “rebuilt” section of the Indiana certification and then used that title to obtain a clean Illinois title from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, according to the plea agreement. Igolnikov purchased the newly certified vehicles in the names of Seven Amigos Used Cars, Chicago Elite Cab and other related corporate entities, the plea agreement states.
Igolnikov and his business associates, including Chicago Elite Cab, operated the fraudulently certified vehicles as taxicabs in Chicago—in violation of the city’s medallion laws, which prohibit any vehicle that was ever issued a “salvage” or “rebuilt” title in any state from being used as a taxicab, the plea agreement states.
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