www.Nypost.com, Rthvika Suvarna and Priscilla DeGregory, August 4, 2023
A city businessman – accused by flashy Brooklyn Bishop Lamor Whitehead of slandering him to the FBI, leading to federal charges – has been arrested for allegedly running a fraudulent luxury car rental line.
Brandon Belmonte, 39, was busted for allegedly using two straw buyers to get financing for his luxury car fleet — hiding that they’d really be used as rentals for his business, VIP Cars NYC in Astoria and the Bronx, according to a federal indictment.
Belmonte also was accused of hiding from insurance companies that the vehicles would be rented out, the indictment charges.
Belmonte appeared in Brooklyn federal court Friday flanked by his lawyer James Miskiewicz for an arraignment where a not guilty plea was entered.
According to court papers, Belmonte, of Montclair, NJ, and the straw buyers — one of whom worked at VIP — allegedly provided lenders with fake earnings statements and phony bank account records to make it look like they were financially stronger than they really were.
The trio knew the lenders “would not finance the sale or lease of the luxury vehicles if they knew the true intended purpose for the vehicles or the true financial status of the straw buyers,” the indictment charges.
Similarly, Belmonte hid from insurance companies that the cars would be used as rentals so he could get coverage; he later lied when submitting claims for accidents, the court filing claims.
In one example of the scam, from April 2020 through May 2020, Belmonte submitted claims for three separate accidents involving VIPs cars, falsely claiming the vehicles were driven by construction company employees –when they were actually being rented out, the indictment claims. Continue full article