Local10.com, Chris Gothner, July 7, 2023
HIALEAH, Fla. – The owner of a Hialeah used car dealership that has since been shut down by the state has been arrested for a third time on even more grand theft and fraud charges, according to police.
Hialeah police said about a month before his latest arrest, Christopher Landy Mora, 24, tried to smooth things over with one of his victims with romance. It didn’t work.
Mora, who owned Realeza Motors, was first arrested on March 16 after he and an accomplice were accused of leaving a 73-year-old woman in “financial ruin” by using her identity to register and finance three vehicles in her name without her permission.
Cops arrested Mora again on April 6 after a vehicle consigner went to Hialeah police headquarters, located right across the street from Realeza Motors, to report that six out of the seven vehicles the company had on consignment with the dealership had either fraudulent title changes or were nowhere to be found.
According to the April arrest report, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspended state licenses for both Realeza Motors, at 5612 E. Eighth Ave., and Mora himself for “illegal and prohibited activity.”
Police said Mora’s latest arrest involves two victims who said they were still on the hook for car loan payments after Mora took possession of their vehicles, despite promises that they were no longer responsible. The investigations dated back to October and continued through July.
According to the report, on June 5, a Hialeah police officer responded to the business and found that Mora’s father was trying to reopen it under a new name, Loyalty Auto Sales.
Police asked Mora’s father about one of the victim’s cars, which he claimed to have no record of, the report states.
They also asked the elder Mora about a dealer tag his son was seen driving around with that was reported lost and needed to be returned to the DHSMV, police said.
The investigator wrote that Mora’s father was “dishonest” and said, “his son did not own or have the tag in question and more so (he) did not know anything about it.”
“I produced a photo showing Mr. Orlando Mora pictures (of the) exact dealer tag on a black Mercedes his son was seen driving and parked in his very own residential driveway,” the detective wrote. “Mr. Orlando Mora stated (that) before the end of the day the tag would be returned to either law enforcement or the Department of Motor Vehicles and it has not been (returned) as of yet.”
Soon after police went back to the Realeza Motors lot, a victim told officers that Christopher Mora, who had hitherto blocked her calls and refused to stick to his word about paying off her Honda Civic, called her out of the blue.
“She explained Mr. Mora was calling her to try to have her rescind her Hialeah police report if he would return the car to her,” the detective wrote. The woman said Mora “would continue to ask her if she was in contact with the police and if she had given any statements about him.”
The woman told police that Mora “asked for her address and said he would drop off the car but was uncertain about a time frame and said Mora “would require her not to have police there because he was afraid of being arrested and would not commit to a time so police would not be waiting nearby to catch him.”
Police said she then asked Mora about the $5,000 she had given him for the balance of her payoff and he said he did not have it. He then “proceeded to text a screenshot of his bank account showing he did not have the funds.”
According to police, the woman said Mora “had a tow truck respond to her house and drop off the car in the middle of the street with a dead battery.”
But that’s not all that happened, according to the report.
Mora called the woman later on in the evening to walk across the street to speak to her in a shopping center to avoid her cameras and “even (invited) her out on a date to gain her sympathy,” police said.
Authorities said Mora turned himself in Thursday at the Hialeah police station. He was being held in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a $32,500 bond as of Friday afternoon.
Mora’s attorney, Edward Tapanes, has previously told Local 10 News that Mora was a victim of others involved and that he looked forward to working with prosecutors on the case.
Local 10 News again contacted Tapanes for comment on Friday.