- A collection of cars seized by the FBI in an investigation this year went up for auction on Saturday, October 26 and sold for a collective $US8.23 million.
- The 149-car collection included two Teslas, eleven Plymouth Road Runners, a dozen Chevrolet Camaros, nine Dodge Challengers, and a Pontiac owned by Burt Reynolds.
- Victims of the alleged Ponzi scheme include Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and insurance giant Progressive.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A collection of cars seized by the FBI – including a Tesla, classic muscle cars, and a car owned by Burt Reynolds – in the investigation into allegationsDC Solar ran a “Ponzi-type” scheme were up for auction on Saturday.
The auctioned totaled $US8.23 million in sales. The highest bid was for a 2018 Prevost Featherlite H3-45 motorcoach which fetched $US1.05 million. The lowest was a 2015 Honda CRF250 dirt bike for $US4,000.
A 1964 Austin Mini Cooper was pulled from the auction because of a VIN issue but will be resold at a later time.
The 149 cars were seized from DC Solar founder Jeff Carpoff and his wife Paulette’s home and business in California and Las Vegas in December 2018. The company filed for bankruptcy shortly after, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The vehicles were auctioned off by the United States Marshals Service and Apple Auctioneering Co., a family-owned auction company that “specialises in the liquidation of seized assets for government agencies,” according to its Facebook page.
“It is rare for the US Marshals to hold an auction of such a stunning collection of vehicles,” Chief Deputy US Marshal Lasha Boyden said in a prepared statement.
The proceeds of the sale will be deposited into the USMS’s seized asset account while awaiting further Court orders.
Keep scrolling to learn more about the collection of cars and its history:
The auction took place on Saturday, October 26, in Woodland, California.
The only 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS up for auction fetched $US42,500.
It included a 2014 Tesla Model S P85D, which sold for $US63,000…
A 2014 Tesla S P85 was also up for auction and fetched $US37,000.
…this 2017 Bentley Continental GT V8 S, which went for $US128,100…
…and this 1978 Pontiac Trans Am that Burt Reynolds owned as a memento of the car he drove in the 1977 film “Smokey and the Bandit.” This iconic car fetched $US181,000.
There were also be nine Dodge Challengers up for auction, including this 1968 Dodge Challenger Super Bee that fetched $US102,000.
And this 1967 Ford Mustang GT500 SE- by Riley Performance M, auctioned off for $US206,000, was among seven other Ford Mustangs up for sale.
The FBI originally seized over 160 cars, boats, and motorcycles from the Carpoff couple, as well as millions of dollars in cash from their personal belongings and the DC Solar headquarters.
This 1993 AM General Hummer sold for $US26,600.
The couple used the money to splurge on properties such as a Las Vegas mansion, condos in Lake Tahoe, a vacation home in Scottsdale, and cars that are now up for auction.
This 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 auctioned off for $US50,100.
DC Solar was accused of running an $US800 million “Ponzi-type” scheme selling mobile solar generators.
This 1969 DodgeDaytona auctioned off for $US215,000.
Investors included Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, which invested $US340 million in DC Solar.
This 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon went for $US105,000.
“In December 2018 and during the first quarter of 2019, we learned of allegations by federal authorities of fraudulent income conduct by the sponsor of these funds,” Berkshire Hathaway stated in its quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The 1951 Chevrolet Thriftmaster 3100 was acquired for $US37,900.
“As a result of our investigation into these allegations, we now believe that it is more likely than not that the income tax benefits that we recognised are not valid,” it continued.
This 2013 BMW 328i realised $US15,600.
Other investors also include Progressive, Sherwin-Williams, and multiple regional banks, Bloomberg reported.
This 2002 Dodge Viper RT-10 went for $US42,500.
Progressive recorded a $US156 million loss in the first quarter, while Southern Californian bank East West Bancorp. took a $US7 million hit, the Observer reported.
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS sold for $US66,100, while the other example went for $US47,700.
DC Solar claimed they were making money by leasing the solar generators to end-users and paying investors back with the proceeds.
This 1968 Plymouth GTX fetched $US92,000.
However, investigators said that more than 90% of the funds DC Solar claimed to be lease revenue was actually money from other investors.
This 1965 Ford Mustang Custom Fastback auctioned for $US111,000.
This made the company “appear successful, and the leases appear legitimate, when, in reality, leasing the equipment generated little income and early investors were paid from funds contributed by later investors,” according to a federal complaint.
This 1962 Ford F-100 sold for $US100,500.
The company claimed it had 12,000 generators in use. In reality, only 3,000 to 5,000 units were actually built, according to the complaint.
This 1968 Plymouth Road Runner sold for $US105,000. The other two examples fetched $US37,000 and $US43,000.
Each unit had an up-front price of $US150,000. However, federal investigators said the investors typically paid $US45,000 and then claimed $US45,000 in tax credits on their investments and tax deductions for its depreciation.
This 2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT went for $US104,000.
“While we completely disagree with the FBI agent’s claim that DC Solar was a Ponzi scheme and with any assertion that Jeff Carpoff acted improperly, we have been working closely with the government attorneys to provide resources to reimburse investor companies and banks to try to see that they do not suffer a loss,” Malcolm Segal, the Carpoffs’ attorney, said in an email to Business Insider in June.
This blue 1970 Plymouth Superbird fetched $US107,500. The yellow example realised $US155,000, while the orange one fetched $US157,500.
Source: Business Insider