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Guelph, Ont. man unknowingly buys stolen vehicle, loses almost $12K

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A man living in Guelph, Ont. is hoping to recoup thousands of dollars he lost from an online stolen vehicle scam.

Omid Ghadimmi and his mother went to Mississauga at the beginning of February after finding what seemed like the perfect used vehicle on Facebook Marketplace. Ghadimmi and the seller text messaged back and forth, and then he went for a test drive. The two eventually settled on a selling price of $11,500 for the 2015 Honda CRV.

Ghadimmi said the man presented him with a CARFAX report and two keys for the vehicle.

“I paid all of the money - $11,500,” he told CTV News.

After lining up insurance for the car, Ghadimmi brought all the paper work to Service Ontario to get new plates for the Honda.

“Everything was fine and then they told me they have to check the VIN,” Ghadimmi explained. “They told me: ‘We cannot give you a plate. There is a problem and you should go to the police.’”

When Ghadimmi brought the Honda to Guelph Police, they told him it was listed as stolen and he had to surrender it.

“They told me the car has been stolen. You bought a stolen car,” Ghadimmi recalled.

The Guelph Police Service told him the SUV had been reported as stolen from Toronto.

“Unfortunately, the vehicle being stolen property, it was seized and towed from the police station and taken into custody, essentially, so it could be returned to the owner,” Scott Tracey, a Guelph police spokesperson, said. “The investigation will be ongoing, of course, to investigate the theft itself, as well as try to identify the person who sold it to him.”

Tracey said it’s a multi-jurisdictional issue since the car was allegedly stolen from Toronto, sold in Mississauga and seized in Guelph. He also said getting the $11,500 back would be a civil issue.

“At that point, it’s likely not a police matter in terms of getting the money back,” Tracey said. “If the person he bought it from is identified, of course that person, I would think, would face criminal charges. But then [it] would be a civil matter, as well, that the victim would have to pursue.”

Tracey also shared advice for car buyers. He said anyone who is buying a used vehicle should make sure they receive a used vehicle information package.

“It is required by the Highway Traffic Act that anyone selling a used vehicle buys that package and provides it to the buyer,” Tracey explained. “That would identify who the registered owner is, if there’s any outstanding liens or that kind of thing. I don’t believe that was provided in this case.”

Moving forward

Ghadimmi moved to Guelph from Iran about three months ago to live with his mom, who has been in Ontario for about five years. When he left, he sold everything he owned and used most of that money to buy the car.

Ghadimmi is hoping to be able to recover the money but knows it won’t be an easy process.

He’s sharing his story in hopes of preventing the same situation from happening to anyone else.

“That was a bad experience, the worst experience in my life. That was all of my assets and all of my money. How can I lose it?” he asked.

Ghadimmi tried contacting the man who sold him the car but the buyer appears to have blocked his number.

He believes this happened because he was too trusting.  

“He used words like brother because he wanted to achieve my trust,” Ghadimmi explained. “Then you lose all your money suddenly, when I didn’t do anything. I am a victim.”

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