A former AutoNation Honda Miami Lakes finance manager has been arrested after allegedly collecting more than $100,000 in deals for vehicles he never produced.
Carlos Ravelo, 51, was charged with one count of an organized scheme to defraud $50,000 or more; two counts of second-degree grand theft; one count of organized fraud of $50,000 or more; eight counts of third-degree grand theft; one count of theft from the elderly; and four counts of writing a worthless check, according to the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department.
Miami-Dade Police Department reports contain multiple instances of consumers reporting they had bought vehicles for cash from Ravelo but never received the models or a full refund.
AutoNation Honda general manager Armando Ibanez said the dealership has been investigating customer complaints as well, according to police.
Ibanez "made it clear that [Ravelo] was selling vehicles that belong to [the] Honda dealership, as if they were his private vehicles," police wrote in one report.
A staffer at the Florida dealership on Friday said Ravelo no longer worked there; police reports suggest Ravelo was suspended and later fired. AutoNation has not yet responded to a request for comment or confirmation of his employment status. Phone and email messages for Ravelo have not yet been returned, nor have email messages to his attorneys.
Ravelo has entered pleas of not guilty to many of the charges; pleas have not yet been recorded in others.
Among the accounts taken by police:
Luis Quiñones told authorities he bought what he thought was multiple AutoNation Honda vehicles in November 2022 for a combined $50,000 in cash from Ravelo, according to a police report. Quiñones said he never received any of them, but Ravelo only returned $45,000.
Elio Cases told police he met Ravelo at AutoNation Honda in November 2022 after Ravelo contacted him about a vehicle deal. Inside Ravelo's AutoNation Honda office, Ravelo said a 2019 Honda Civic was available for $9,000, but the customer "could only purchase the vehicle cash, through him since he was the 'financial manager' at the dealership." Cases "stated that he was under the impression that the deal was a legitimate transaction because it was done in the office of the subject who was the manager of AutoNation Honda," police wrote.
After collecting the money, Ravelo said the vehicle was in the shop, but he would call when it was ready. Later, Ravelo said the deal had fallen through and gave Cases a refund — but Cases claimed the check bounced, according to police.
"Victim stated that the AutoNation staff told him to file a police report because the suspect has done the same crime to other customers," police wrote.
Yuliety Borges told police she trusted AutoNation Honda after buying a previous vehicle there. She also knew Ravelo, who had attended school with her mother-in-law.
Borges said Ravelo told her he could get her a deal on a vehicle, but only if she paid cash, according to police. She told police she paid Ravelo $30,000 and a second, final installment of $32,000, but she never received the vehicle, and Ravelo quit taking her calls. When she went to the dealership, she found Ravelo had been suspended because of complaints like hers, police said.