Prosecutors this week charged the owner of a Lincoln used car dealership with a dozen felonies in connection to a three-year investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol.
Olim Islamov, 56, was set for court Friday on nine counts of certificate of title violations and three counts of failure to pay sales tax.
Each carries a sentence of up to two years of prison and a $10,000 fine, if he's convicted.
In an affidavit for a search warrant to obtain Islamov's tax documents, Matthew Brodecky, a State Patrol investigator in the auto fraud division, said the case started with the sale of a 2002 Infiniti I35 on Craigslist. The car had in-transits in the window but the title was through Intellexim Auto.
Islamov owns the business at 5721 Johanna Road, off North 57th Street north of Cornhusker Highway.
Brodecky said they identified 32 vehicles offered for sale on the same website by Salman Al-Sadoon and later learned he allegedly had been dealing cars through Intellexim for three years.
Prosecutors charged Al-Sadoon this week with acting as an unlicensed dealer, which is a felony.
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Two others, Carlos Bernabe and Wilmer Ramirez Vasquez, previously were charged with the same, plus failure to pay sales tax, in connection to the case.
And a fourth, Rigoberto Castelan Diaz, is accused of doing the same thing in Omaha.
Investigators ultimately came to believe that Islamov made online bids to buy vehicles at auction for others, who aren't licensed dealers. The true buyers paid Islamov his fee to put in the bid, then picked up the cars, fixed them and resold them. Once there was a buyer, Islamov allegedly signed over the titles after the men paid him a commission.
Islamov allegedly held titles and provided additional in-transits until the cars were ready to be sold or driven, Brodecky said.
He said the middle men didn't register or pay sales tax for the vehicles they sold.
Brodecky said records obtained last year from the Nebraska Department of Revenue showed that Intellexim Auto wasn't properly filing sales/use tax and tire fee statements on vehicles transferred by the dealership.