SANTA ANA, Calif. — The former owner and operator of Costa Mesa Bellagio Motors, a car dealership that specialized in buying and selling high-end luxury vehicles, was sentenced on June 29 to 13 years in state prison for embezzling over $2 million from unsuspecting customers.
Farhad Ebadat of Huntington Beach, Calif., pleaded guilty to 16 felony counts of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, 13 felony counts of money laundering, and 11 felony counts of grand theft by false pretenses with sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and $1.3 million. He was also ordered to pay $2,078,167.48 in restitution.
From 2009 to 2012, Ebadat owned and operated Costa Mesa Bellagio Motors, a car dealership that specialized in buying and selling high-end luxury vehicles from Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lotus, Maserati, Porsche and Rolls Royce. During this time, Ebadat defrauded victims who wanted to sell their high-end vehicles by falsely claiming he would sell their cars on consignment, pay the owners and transfer the car titles to the purchasers. The defendant sold cars worth $25,000 to $225,000 on consignment and then diverted the payments he received to his own personal accounts.
Ebadat defrauded buyers who paid for the vehicles in full but were unable to obtain legal car titles because the owners holding the titles had not been paid. Ebadat did not deliver some of the purchased vehicles to customers.
Costa Mesa Police Department began investigating the case and turned it over to Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (OCATT), a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement program that investigates, arrests, and prosecutes professional and career criminals responsible for Orange County vehicle thefts.
After the investigation of Bellagio Motors began in 2012, the defendant abruptly closed his business, vacated the premises, and moved from his home in Huntington Beach to a rental home in Bermuda Dunes. Ebadat then emptied his bank accounts by transferring his funds to various other bank accounts.