FBI: A 24-Year-Old Made Millions With His Ferrari Scam

Daniel Lesin allegedly sold allocations he didn't have
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
FBI: A 24-Year-Old Tricked the Rich With His Ferrari Scam
In this 2018 file photo, the Ferrari Monza SP1 car is displayed in Maranello, Italy.   (AP Photo/Collen Barry, file)

"Daniel Lesin was simply trying to fake his way upwards and did so fairly convincingly for five or six years." It's a great line from Stef Schrader's lengthy piece for the Drive on Lesin, a New Jersey 24-year-old who presented himself as someone who was already at the top: the son of Russian billionaires and a lover of cars who owned a slew of wildly expensive automobiles. Among them were Ferraris. Lesin allegedly claimed he and his family owned scores of them over the years, and that their penchant for the brand was such that he managed to secure allocations for the Ferrari Monza SP1s and SP2s. As Schrader explains, in 2018 Ferrari handed 499 allocations for the new limited-run models to its most loyal customers. Those lucky enough to get an allocation aren't supposed to sell them, though some people do, quietly. Lesin among them. But there was one problem.

According to the FBI, Lesin didn't have any Monza SP allocations, and he was arrested in June and charged with four counts of wire fraud that each carry maximum sentences of 20 years. The FBI claims Lesin took in $3 million by selling the allocations in a scheme that targeted car dealerships, luxury vehicle brokers, exotic car financing companies, and wealthy buyers. As for how Lesin managed to keep the alleged scam going for years, Schrader shares two details: One, he attended luxury car events in high-end cars (whether he owned them outright is unclear), which gave him some credibility. Two, he "allegedly took advantage of the expectation of secrecy" and had the allocation buyers sign a contract saying they wouldn't contact Ferrari at any point about the expected car. His trial is slated to start Sept. 26. (Read the fascinating full story here.)

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