Lexington KY man scamming car dealerships arrested

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A Lexington man was federally charged for money laundering crimes after he was found by the U.S. Secret Service to be a posing as luxury car salesman and scamming high-end dealerships.

Hussein Qasim, 34, of Lexington, faces two federal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and transactional money laundering, according to a criminal complaint filed Feb. 7 in the Eastern District of Kentucky federal court.

In an affidavit filed by Roger Kimmel, a special agent with the Secret Service in Lexington, the investigation identified Qasim as part of a network that engages in a “complex scheme” that centers around the false sales of expensive, luxury vehicles, according to federal court documents.

The alleged conspiracy involved those reaching out over the phone or online to luxury car dealerships in the country who would speak with sales associates or managers under an alias. However, they never owned or were in the possession of the vehicles they were trying to sell.

Qasim would provide pictures and titles of the vehicles, as well as a dealership license of the “employer,” court documents state.

If an agreement was reached to purchase the cars, Qasim would provide bank information to the victims, and on several occasions, a dealer was convinced to wire money for a car that was never provided.

Sometimes, the funds could be recovered after the sale was discovered to be fraudulent. However, the funds were mostly quickly removed from the account and not able to be recovered.

In December 2023, Qasim is alleged to have posed under the name, “Michael Armstrong,” and attempted to make a trade with a dealership in Anaheim, California.

Qasim claimed he worked for a dealership in Boston and sought to trade a 2021 Ford GT for a 2015 Ferrari that was owned by the legitimate dealership.

Qasim received a wire of $500,000 for the car. The owner of the dealership — identified in court documents as “JSM” — was alerted by a vehicle transporter that when he tried to make contact with the dealership Qasim claimed to work for, they weren’t aware of any trade deal.

Representatives reported this was not the first time someone had represented themselves as an employee of their business and tricked another dealership into the purchase of the same vehicle.

According to state court documents, Qasim has an long history of traffic violations, from speeding ot disregarding a stop sign to failure to provide insurance, in different Kentucky counties. All of these violations involved luxury vehicles, including a BMW, a Lexus, Range Rover and Land Rover, he was driving..

Qasim does not have an attorney yet listed in his federal case.

This story was originally published February 12, 2024, 7:00 AM.

Taylor Six is the criminal justice reporter at the Herald-Leader. She was born and raised in Lexington attending Lafayette High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as the government reporter for the Richmond Register.

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