CONCORD, NH – One of six people charged with bank fraud involving car loans, totaling several hundred thousand dollars, obtained with fake documents pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court.
Robesteur St. Felix, 47, of Manchester pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud. He will be sentenced on June 29, 2022.
According to the indictment, St. Felix and the others applied for and obtained multiple loans to purchase cars purportedly sold by Allied Imports, a Manchester car wholesaler, and Cap’s Auto Sales, a Manchester car retailer.
Solomon Yarteh, 47, of Sierra Leone, was president of Allied Imports and St. Felix was the CEO of Cap’s Auto Sales. The sales were fraudulent, according to court records, because the accused never owned the vehicles or greatly inflated the value of the cars.
Although Allied and Cap’s claimed ownership, the vehicles were the property of Team Nissan, which had neither assigned nor sold the vehicles to either business.
Some defendants are also accused of money laundering for then transferring, wiring or withdrawing the loan proceeds.
Others charged in the scheme are:
- Niurka Lebron, 44, previously of Boston, Mass;
- Donna Marie Silva, 43, of Lowell, Mass;
- Arthur Beckett, 35, of Covington, Georgia; and
- Amara Jalloh, 41, of Sierra Leone.
All are charged with bank fraud. Yarteh, St. Felix, and Silva also were charged with money laundering offenses.
The money laundering offenses were dropped against St. Felix as part of the plea agreement.
According to court documents, the loans were supposed to be secured by the vehicles themselves. Financial institutions were induced to grant the loans by the fake documents which indicated the sellers, including Cap’s Auto Sales, owned and held title to the vehicles.
Prosecutors said St. Feliz on Feb. 15, 2019, created a fraudulent purchase contract purporting that Cap’s was selling a 2017 Nissan Armada to co-defendant Silva for $42,675. St. Feliz also signed a fraudulent “Assignment of Title” that said Team Nissan, a car dealership in Manchester, assigned ownership of the Nissan to Cap’s. However, Cap’s never owned or held title to the Nissan; Team Nissan did.
The fraudulent documents were then allegedly used by Silva to obtain a car loan on Feb. 20, 2019 from Members First Credit Union in the amount of $43,079.
On June 11, 2019, St. Feliz created other false documents for a 2018 Nissan Armada, owned by Team Nissan, for Jalloh and Yarteh, according to court filings. The documents were used by Jalloh and Yarteh allegedly to obtain a car loan the next day in the amount of $38,804 from Members First Credit Union.
On June 28, 2019, St. Feliz created more fraudulent documents for a 2018 Nissan Murano, owned by Team Nissan, which Yarteh then allegedly used to obtain a $30,574 loan on July 1, 2019, from Triangle Credit Union.
On August 20, 2020, St. Feliz entered into a consent order with the New Hampshire Banking Department in which he confessed to falsifying the purchase contracts for two of the vehicles in question.
Four defendants are awaiting trial although Silva entered a plea agreement, according to court records. Yarteh is a fugitive, according to court records.
“By submitting false documents to obtain fraudulent loans, the defendant participated in a substantial criminal scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Farley in a prepared statement. “As this case demonstrates, we work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who commit fraud. By working together, we strive to hold these criminals accountable for their unlawful conduct and seek justice for victims.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Chen and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau.