Arizona man appears in St. Louis court to answer fraud charges

Wire Fraud news graphic
Share To Your Social Network

An Arizona car repair business owner pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges accusing him of defrauding at least four customers out of more than $500,000.

Andres “Manny” Lopez, 35, was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis on October 11, 2023, on two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was arrested on December 11 in Arizona and appeared in court in St. Louis on Wednesday.

The indictment states that Lopez operated All Performance Tuning and Diesel Repair LLC in Arizona and solicited customers nationwide. It alleges that Lopez defrauded at least four customers, including one from Missouri, by falsely promising to acquire cars at a discount and to perform vehicle repairs and upgrades. After receiving upfront payments, Lopez allegedly used the funds for personal expenses.

A Missouri victim reportedly wired Lopez $45,000 for a Toyota RAV4 intended for his mother. Lopez is accused of falsely claiming to have purchased the vehicle and of repeated assurances about its delivery, the indictment details. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Lopez impersonated the general manager of a Florida Toyota dealership in text messages to the client’s mother, falsely attributing delivery delays to recall issues.

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The aggravated identity theft charge is punishable by a mandatory two-year prison term, to be served consecutively to any other sentence, and a $250,000 fine.

An indictment only presents charges and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman is prosecuting the case.

Share To Your Social Network