Former Salesman of Porsche Dealership Pleads Guilty to Over $3 Million Fraud Scheme Involving Non-Existent Rare Porsche Models
On September 13, 2019, a former salesman for Copans Motorsports d/b/a Champion Porsche, Shiraaz Sookralli, 45, of Plantation, pled guilty for leading a fraud scheme in which he entered into bogus sales orders for the sale of exotic Porsche models to over 30 customers throughout the United States.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Gregory Tony, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), made the announcement.
Sookralli pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (Case No. 19cr60188). He is scheduled for sentencing on November 14, 2019, at 10:00 am before U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith. He faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.
According to his signed factual proffer and other court documents, in 2017, Sookralli opened a shell corporation with a name bearing a close resemblance to both Champion Porsche and another corporate affiliate of the dealership. After forming the shell corporation, Sookralli opened a bank account in the shell corporation’s name. Sookralli then entered into bogus sales orders with customers for the unauthorized sales of non-existent future exotic Porsche models. The majority of the vehicles were rare, highly sought-after, Carrera 911 models. The defendant required deposits from his victims in the form of, wire transfers, bank checks, and cash that he later deposited into his shell company’s bank account. The buyers relied on Sookralli’s longtime employment at Champion Porsche, title as “Vice President of Marketing,” representations that he or she would receive a yet-to-be-built Porsche vehicle, and the seemingly legitimate bank account for wiring deposits to Sookralli. Champion Porsche did not authorize Sookralli to conduct these transactions.
To further his scheme, Sookralli typically provided the customers with signed false and fraudulent purchase orders, sham vehicle build sheets showing the specifications of the customers’ vehicle, as well as other false and fraudulent documents. Sookralli often communicated with customers using email and other wire communications. Some customers sent Sookralli payments using the United States mails and interstate bank wire transfers. During this same fraud scheme, Sookralli defrauded another victim with whom he had agreed to sell, “on consignment,” a certain Porsche vehicle for the victim. Once the defendant sold the car, he kept the money for himself.
Throughout the conspiracy, customers wired or otherwise transferred approximately $3,000,000 to Sookralli which he used for his personal benefit. As set forth in the court documents, the defendant used the money for extravagant expenditures including luxury vehicles, jewelry, nightclubs, and restaurants. Sookralli also funneled amounts in excess of $10,000 at a time from his shell company account to bank accounts he controlled.
Prior to executing the fraud scheme involving the bogus sales orders for the Porsche vehicles, in or around 2014 through 2016, Sookralli opened a separate “shell” company named Color Pro Motorsport. Through that company, Sookralli embezzled additional money from Champion Porsche.
After Champion Porsche uncovered Sookralli’s fraud scheme, it contacted his victims and began its cooperation with the criminal investigation. All of Sookralli’s victims with valid claims were made whole by Champion.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, and BSO in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Cruz.