Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that an Essex County Grand Jury has indicted Thomas J. Miller, 23, of Cedar Grove in connection with an online car selling scam in which he ensnarled nearly a dozen buyers from Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois and Canada.
Posing as an automobile wholesaler, Miller duped would-be buyers out of $650,000. The defendant would advertise cars ranging from $70,000 to $90,000 over the internet. Among the makes were Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus, Nissan Murano and Land Rover.
He did business under multiple names including Premium One Auto Leasing and New Jersey Automotive Consultants. He also posted cars for sale on Cars.com and Autotrader.com.
In some cases the buyers wired a down payment. In other cases the buyers wired the entire sum. In either case, Miller never delivered the cars. Miller was indicted on 24 counts of theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception.
Miller is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 8 before the Honorable Joseph Cassini, III, Judge of the Superior Court. He is free on $100,000 bail.
Acting Prosecutor Murray commended Sgt. John Kennedy of the Cedar Grove Police Department who assisted with the investigation along with Detective Eric Serio and Assistant Prosecutor Portia Downing of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit, who are handling the case for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, director of the Financial Crimes Unit, said, “These are very serious crimes. If people who use the internet to defraud innocent parties believe the anonymity of the internet will shield them from prosecution, they are mistaken. We will investigate and prosecute these cases with the same vigor as any other crime.’’
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they plead guilty or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.