Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing an unlicensed Chicago company of taking over $100,000 from consumers who wanted to transport their vehicles to Mexico.
Oscar and Orfilda Flores, who are married and own Legalizauto Rey LLC, charged Illinois consumers as much as $4,000 to legalize and transport their vehicles to Mexico but never delivered on their services, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Bureau has received at least 37 complaints from consumers who reported losing a total of $112,000 to the company’s scam, according to the statement.
The company operates two locations, one at 3720 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago and another at 308 S. McLean Blvd. in Elgin, the attorney general’s office said. The company also previously operated as Issac Transport Corporation and Jacob’s Transportation Inc.
“This company took thousands of dollars from consumers under a promise that they failed to fulfill,” Madigan said in the statement. “Consumers who want to legally transport their vehicle to Mexico need to contact the Mexican Consulate in Chicago to receive accurate information and avoid falling victim to scam operations.”
The lawsuit alleges the company took advantage of consumers seeking to legally transport their vehicles. The company promises customers that it can process all the necessary paperwork needed to legalize their vehicle for import into Mexico and transport it into the country by trailer by a specific date. However, the owners are not authorized import/export agents, according to the attorney general’s office.
Consumers paid up to $4,000 for the services of Legalizauto Rey LLC, but in many cases their vehicles never arrived in Mexico and company representatives did not respond to further requests for information, the attorney general’s office said. In some cases, when the company delivered vehicles to the promised location, they were damaged or had excessive mileage.
The lawsuit seeks to shut down Legalizauto Rey, provide restitution to affected consumers and assess penalties based on violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, according to the attorney general’s office.
Securing a permit at the border to transport a vehicle into Mexico can take up to seven days, according to the statement. Illegal operators lure consumers into working with them by falsely claiming to be able to obtain a permit and transport the vehicle more quickly.
To enter Mexico with a personal vehicle, an owner needs to obtain a temporary import permit, the attorney general’s office said. There are three ways of applying for the permit: at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago at least six months before traveling, online at www.banjercito.com.mx, or from an authorized import/export agent, also known as an “agente aduanal.”
The import/export agents are registered with the Mexican Treasury Department. Legitimate import/export agents can only be found on the U.S.-Mexico border because the Mexican Treasury Department does not authorize agents to operate inside the U.S., according to the attorney general’s office.
Companies transporting or arranging for the transportation of vehicles across the United States must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation and must have a registration number that is referred to as an MC/MX/FF number, according to the statement.