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Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

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Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

Post by Jim W on Sun May 12, 2013 1:16 pm

Hello everyone

Several people have asked for more information about the vehicle importation scam that has hit the Lake Chapala Lakeside communities.

In January, TioCorp began facilitating vehicle importations into Mexico for an Import Agency, Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente, located in Guadalajara. We sent out a note to clients and let them know that TioCorp had agreed to become a sales agency for their service, and that news was picked up by bloggers and the news spread. A good number of foreign vehicle owners responded and sent deposits for the Import Agency; it looked like we had found an answer for clients who had to import their vehicle because of the new immigration rules that obligated people to convert to Residente Pemanente status. Permanent residents cannot drive a foreign-plated vehicle.


Unfortunately, in mid-April as we received the first batches of importation paperwork (pedimentos), it was discovered that the Import Agency was a scam. The first client to take their importation paperwork to Guadalajara to have the vehicle legalized was told the Pedimento was a fake. Police were called and the client called TioCorp for help. We immediately hired a Lakeside lawyer, Spencer McMullen, to go to Guadalajara at our expense to assist the client. Mr. McMullen provided police with copies of emails, quotations, business identification and other documents of the Import Agency, which clearly identified Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente as the perpetrator. Police quickly determined that the client and TioCorp were victims of a sophisticated scam that was victimizing businesses and individuals at Lakeside and across Mexico. The client was released from questioning.


However, to make matters worse, the client had Residente Permanente status and had driven to the licencing/validation office with the Temporary Importation Permit (TIP) sticker in the window and foreign licence plates on the vehicle. The vehicle was seized by Aduana. At a meeting we held with the client following the incident, the client personally confirmed that Aduana seized the vehicle…not because of the fake importation paperwork or because of something TioCorp had done… but because the client was driving with a TIP !! In fact, the client told us that the police objected to the seizure and told Aduana that the client and TioCorp had been tricked by Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente, and that they felt the client’s vehicle should not be held. However, Aduana advised our lawyer, Spencer McMullen, that the same fate awaits any permanent resident who drives with a TIP and foreign licence plates. Mr. McMullen is negotiating for release of the vehicle.


TioCorp has retained legal counsel to seek a resolution to the problem and seek refunds from Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente. In the initial stages, legal counsel advised us that the complaint might be considered one of “slow delivery” for those pedimentos that had not yet been delivered, and that there was the possibility that Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez himself was a victim of the import brokerage; there is little that we can do except register a formal complaint and seek a refund of the deposits. However, in the following days, we could not contact the Import Agent (no response to phone or email messages) and we realized that the situation was not looking hopeful for a speedy solution. So, rather than wait for a recovery of deposits from the Import Agency, clients were offered 50% refunds from TioCorp directly, with the balance to be made up with discounts on insurance premiums until they recovered 100%. Many clients have already taken advantage of TioCorp’s offer and we have refunded well in excess of $ 300,000 pesos to date, much of this from our personal accounts. As each day goes by, we have diminishing hope of any recovery from the Import Agency.


TioCorp is the complete insurance provider to the municipality of Chapala…including the mayor’s office, utilities department and the police department…and has an excellent relationship with them. We are hoping that we can use that relationship to help encourage Guadalajara and federal authorities to investigate Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente with some degree of vigour, but that too may be wishful thinking. Time will tell.


While everyone in Mexico understands that theft, misrepresentation and fraud are an everyday risk in Mexico, the losses in this case are significant. TioCorp is proud of its excellent reputation in our community and feels a tremendous embarrassment at allowing itself to become a sales agency for what may prove to be nothing more than a scam and professional sting operation. For those of you who may have been reading the gossip blogs, we understand that a lot of misinformation is circulating, and we apologize for having taken so long to provide details. The delay was due to a number of circumstances including our legal advice which had recommended that we attempt to locate Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente and confirm his complicity in the scam before sending out a general release. Unfortunately, we have been unable to do that, and have decided to issue information to everyone now rather than wait.


To provide you with more background, we have attached a release which was sent to importation clients to explain how and why TioCorp decided to become a sales agency for Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente. TioCorp acted in good faith with the Import Agency and is suffering because of it. We have taken steps to make it as right as we can for our clients and can only hope that there will be some recovery.


<<...>>


TioCorp Insurance

376.766.4828
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Re: Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

Post by Jim W on Sun May 12, 2013 1:45 pm

Here is the attachment.........




TioCorp Insurance

Date: April 30, 2013

To: All Vehicle Importing Clients
From: TioCorp Insurance
Subject: Update on Import Agency background


Thank you, for those who have been offering your kind words, understanding and support. For those who have already accepted our offer of a 50% refund, paperwork is being prepared.

One of the frequent questions is, who is this Import Agency, Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente, and how did TioCorp become involved with them in the first place.

Background

In early January, TioCorp was called by one of our insurance clients and told about an importation agency in Guadalajara which had access to an Amparo to import Japanese vehicles. Our client was looking to import his “J” vehicle and had been told about the opportunity by another import sales agent (Mark Turford) who was already representing Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente in the Lake Chapala area. It sounded like a something that would help many of our clients who were struggling with the new immigration rules and vehicle legalization, so we contacted Mr. Turford to learn more.

We were told that Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente primarily serviced the Mexican community and learned that the company was looking to expand the vehicle importation business to the foreign community through English-speaking intermediary sales agents.

In mid-January, Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente made a sales presentation to TioCorp and Mark Turford. Our client was keenly interested in learning about the Amparo first hand and meeting the import agent. He attended and participated in the meeting as well. What did we learn and what were we told?

1. The company represented themselves as a Vehicle Importation Agency working through Hodoyan Navarro Customs Brokers out of Tijuana.
2. Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente has a website specializing in vehicle importing for the Mexican community. Their website is ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ http://www.gestoria-vehicular-de-occidente.com/. That website remains active as of this writing.
3. The presentation focused on the availability of an Amparo that would allow non-NAFTA vehicles to be imported, as well as provide preferential pricing on NAFTA vehicles.
4. The other vehicle importing intermediary (Mark Turford) with years of importing experience in the Lake Chapala area attended this presentation, and confirmed that previous Amparos had existed and had allowed non-NAFTA vehicles to be imported. He confirmed that he had imported vehicles under previous Amparos and saw them as an excellent opportunity for non-NAFTA vehicles. At this meeting, Mr. Turford confirmed that he had known this Guadalajara company and its owner, Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez, since the previous year. Clearly, the company, its website and its owner were known to exist for some time.
5. At that meeting, Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez provided copies of an importation Pedimento that showed a “J” vehicle had been imported under the Amparo on January 11, 2013, and explained how Amparos worked and their restrictions.
6. Using our computers, Mr. Gonzalez provided instructions and logged onto the Aduana website for tracking Pedimentos. That site is http://www.aduanas.gob.mx/SOIANET/oia_consultarap_cep.aspx. Here we were shown how to view the "J" vehicle Pedimento and it clearly was marked as “Completed” by Aduana with the identical time-and-date stamp and Pedimento number as the processed “J” Pedimento we were being shown.
7. When questioned about certain additional vehicles, such as “K” (Korean) cars, and certain years of vehicles, the Import Agent, Mr. Gonzalez said that these could NOT be imported. This inability to import certain vehicles added to the credibility of Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente.
8. Mr. Andres Gonzalez Hernandez explained that his company specialized in the Mexican community and was looking for companies to act as intermediaries for the foreign communities.
9. Mr. Gonzalez provided a copy of an extensive Spanish agreement outlining Terms and Conditions which was said to be used with their Mexican clients to explain the rules for deposits and processing. This particular contract had in fact been prepared for one of TioCorp’s existing insurance customers, and we confirmed with the customer that he had in fact initiated a process to import his vehicle facilitated by Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente
10. That contract provided Mr. Gonzolez’s RFC number and tax ID.
11. We were told that clients were to make their deposit, the deposit was to be transferred to the Import Agency’s bank to pay for importation, and TioCorp would earn a sales commission.
12. Another importing agent at Lake Chapala confirmed that he was dealing with this particular company as well and had pedimentos in processing. (This company has now learned that they have similarly been defrauded.)
13. An indication of the sophistication of this particular scam is that a lawyer who himself arranges for importation of vehicles looked at the information and decided to ask TioCorp to arrange for importation of his foreign vehicle. Another lawyer on the east coast called to say that he had reviewed the information, done some research, and felt that it was credible and also asked TioCorp to act as intermediary to arrange importation.
14. News that TioCorp had found an import agent for non-NAFTA vehicles was circulated by bloggers. One of the blogs reported that an Aduana agent had told the blogger that she had heard of the existence of this particular Amparo.

Considering all the materials, their company website, the Aduana website, the “J” pedimento that appears on the Aduana website, the fact that other intermediaries in the area were already dealing with the company, the fact that at least one of our clients was already dealing with them to import his car…all these factors lead to TioCorp agreeing to sell for Gestoria Vehicular de Occidente. We checked it out as best we could and had references.

TioCorp acted in good faith and have become victims as well. The total cost to TioCorp and to our personal accounts will approach or surpass $1 million pesos before this is resolved.

As we said in our previous update…While everyone in Mexico understands that theft, misrepresentation and fraud are an everyday risk in Mexico, the losses and embarrassment in this case are significant. TioCorp is proud of its excellent reputation in our community and feels a tremendous shame at allowing itself to become a sales agency for what may prove to be nothing more than a scam and professional sting operation.

We will continue to send out updates as things progress. We are hesitantly hopeful that the deposits can be recovered. If you have questions, please contact us at vehicle- importing@tiocorpinc.com


Importing Vehicles into Mexico
TioCorp Insurance
Mexico 376-766-4828
Fax 376-766-3974
USA & Canada
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Re: Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

Post by Talosian on Sun May 12, 2013 5:39 pm

Excuse my ignorance, but when you say "However, Aduana advised our lawyer, Spencer McMullen, that the same fate awaits any permanent resident who drives with a TIP and foreign licence plates." What is the TIP?

I am a permanent resident and my wife is a temporary with a NOB plated car.

Does this mean I can't drive her car and Aduana can confiscate it if I do?

Thanks.
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Re: Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

Post by Talosian on Sun May 12, 2013 5:58 pm

OK, I figured out the TIP is aa Temporary Operating Permit.

My question now is that since Aduana seems to be looking to pull cars from people, might it be best not to bring the vehicle near Aduana unless the non-permanent resident is driving it?

I doubt Adauna is going to send a task-force lakeside to look for permanent residents driving foreign plated cars with TIPs.

Of course, local cops can handle it (and probably will).
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Re: Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

Post by Intercasa on Sun May 12, 2013 8:36 pm

Task force no but over zealous transitos and federal police perhaps and if there is an accident or your car is towed for any reason, then getting it back will be tough.
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Re: Just Received this Email from TIO CORP/VEHICLE IMPORTS SCAM

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