12 People Charged With Fraud Involving Hundreds Of Pa. License Plates

By Tony Romeo and Alexandria Hoff

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced charges against 12 people and 14 businesses for multiple vehicle schemes that involved more than a thousand fake Pennsylvania license plates. Shapiro says the investigation is ongoing into what was dubbed “Operation Car Wash.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says the leader of the organized crime ring, Rafael Levi of Brooklyn, has been charged with 486 criminal counts, including fraud and theft. Shapiro says for years, the Levi organization submitted forged documents to PennDOT to obtain more than a thousand license plates.

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“They then rented these fraudulent plates for $400 a month to people who wanted them specifically to evade law enforcement,” said the attorney general.

Shapiro says tolls and parking tickets also went unpaid. The ring also provided vehicles with fake insurance cards — fraudulently obtained clean titles to vehicles and rolled back odometer readings.

The AG says the scheme raises “serious questions” about PennDOT’s processes — but he also says PennDOT has been cooperative and has tightened policies.

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