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Man who ran fake Las Vegas car dealership pleads guilty

A man accused of selling cars in Las Vegas without a dealership license has pleaded guilty to a felony forgery charge.

Russell Ricafort, 41, is expected to receive up to five years’ probation at a sentencing in February, according to a news release Monday from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Arrested in July 2017 on 56 counts of unlicensed dealership activity, operating as an unlicensed salesman, forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, Ricafort pleaded guilty last month to forgery.

At Ricafort’s sentencing, prosecutors are expected to seek restitution based on an outstanding administrative fine and dealer licensing and bond fees that Ricafort should have paid, the release stated.

Ricafort worked as a dealership salesman until his license was denied by the Nevada DMV in 2009. Thereafter, he began acquiring vehicles at dealer wholesale auctions and selling them through Craigslist and on empty lot corners throughout Clark County. In many cases, he represented himself as the owner of a fictional dealership called Aloha Auto Sales.

The DMV sent Ricafort a cease-and-desist order in 2015, and blocked the registering and titling of the vehicles he sold, but he continued selling vehicles, the department’s release stated.

Those who bought the vehicles registered them after paying taxes and fees.

An undercover DMV purchase of Ricafort’s vehicles also resulted in the June 2017 arrests of Drago Zlatar, 66, and Oscar Rodriguez, 57, the owner of OS’CARS Auto Sales, a licensed dealership.

Zlatar and Rodriguez are due back in court in March on conspiracy and forgery charges, according to court records.

“Consumer protection is one of our top priorities,” said Joseph Decker, the DMV’s Compliance Enforcement Division administrator. “Our officers work diligently to ensure that Nevada’s laws are enforced to maintain a fair marketplace for everyone.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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