Feds say Indy company ran auto lien scheme - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Feds say Indy company ran auto lien scheme

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INDIANAPOLIS -

An Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles employee and two others have been charged with stealing cars from banks by filing fake mechanic's liens.

Prosecutors say schemers would pay Mechanic's Liens Plus $1,000 to file phony liens so they could stop paying their car loans.

They announced fraud-related charges Wednesday against 57-year-old company owner Joseph Woodruff, 28-year-old daughter Nisha Woodruff, and 56-year-old BMV employee Lee Ann Rinehart. Each could face five to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors claim Rinehart provided confidential information about the cars' real lien-holders to the Woodruffs so they could create fake mechanics liens and claim the vehicles.

"Our office believes these individuals were responsible for operating their own personal BMV on the streets of Indianapolis," U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said. "The allegations involve hundreds of vehicles, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and the victimization of Hoosier children, Hoosier taxpayers, and financial institutions across the state."

The BMV says Rinehart has been suspended and could be fired.

The Woodruffs' attorneys didn't return requests for comment. There's no lawyer listed for Rinehart in court documents.

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