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A California dealer faces charges of embezzling more than $3 million from unsuspecting customers looking to buy or sell Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls Royces, and other high-end vehicles from his store in Costa Mesa.
Farhad Ebadat, is charged with 15 felony counts of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, 15 felony counts of money laundering, and 11 felony counts of grand theft by false pretenses with sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and $1.3 million. If convicted, Ebadat faces a maximum sentence of 34 years and eight months in state prison.
The defendant is being held on $3 million bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond and is also subject to a no-bail Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
The Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (OCATT) arrested Ebadat Dec. 3.
From 2009 to 2012, he owned Costa Mesa Bellagio Motors, a car dealership specializing in high-end luxury vehicles including Audi Spider, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lotus, Maserati, Porsche and Rolls Royce. During this time, Ebadat is accused of defrauding victims wanting to sell their high-end vehicles by falsely claiming he would sell their cars on consignment, pay the owners and transfer the car titles to the purchasers.
He is accused of selling cars worth $25,000 to $225,000 on consignment and then diverting the payments received to his own personal accounts.
Ebadat is accused of defrauding buyers who paid for the vehicles in full but were unable to obtain legal car titles because the owners holding the titles had not been paid. The defendant is also accused of not delivering some of the purchased vehicles to customers.
Costa Mesa Police Department began investigating the case and turned it over to OCATT, a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement program that investigates, arrests, and prosecutes professional and career criminals responsible for Orange County vehicle thefts.
After the investigation of Bellagio Motors began in 2012, Ebadat is accused of abruptly closing his business, vacating the premises, and moving from his home in Huntington Beach to a rental home in Bermuda Dunes. Ebadat is accused of emptying his bank accounts and wire-transferring money to accounts in France and Iran.