Four individuals have been indicted by a U.S. District Court in St. Louis, accused of fraudulently registering vehicles in Missouri, with three of them being former employees of driver’s license offices.
The accused are:
- Gary Wilds, 46
- Megan Leone, 40
- Michelle Boyer, 51
- Ashlyn Graeff, 38
On October 25, a grand jury indicted each of them with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Wilds faced additional charges, including four counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, and six counts of making a false statement. Leone was indicted on four counts of wire fraud and two counts of making a false statement. Boyer and Graeff were charged with five counts of wire fraud, with Graeff facing an additional four counts of making a false statement.
Wilds, following his arrest, appeared in court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty.
The indictment identifies Boyer, Graeff, and Leone as former employees of contract license offices. It alleges that Wilds paid them up to $100 for each vehicle they fraudulently registered through the Missouri Department of Revenue computers. Using provided information such as customer names, license plate numbers, VINs, and motor vehicle title numbers, these employees falsely indicated in the DOR database that they had verified emissions inspections, safety inspections, personal property tax payments, and proof of insurance. The indictment also accuses Wilds of using fraudulent forms to seek exemptions for Missouri businesses registering trucks weighing more than 24,000 pounds or trailers. Additionally, it alleges that Wilds retained the sales taxes paid to him by vehicle owners, along with a fee for handling the paperwork.
The penalties for the charges are severe. The conspiracy and wire fraud charges can lead to up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Making a false statement can result in up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Each charge of aggravated identity theft carries a two-year prison term, which would be in addition to any other charges.
The Missouri Department of Revenue and the FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry is overseeing the prosecution.