When Sylvia Velez-Dominguez spotted a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse on OfferUp being sold at Auto Fever Sales LLC, she knew that was the car that she wanted.
She had $4,000 to spend and went to the dealership to make a deal. She says that was her first mistake.
“I don’t have a car because I was ripped off,” said Velez-Dominguez, from her mobile home in Tampa.
“These are the withdrawls that I took out of the ATM’s for the $4,000. He told me to give it to him in cash.”
Amir Mohamed Abuelenen owns the car lot located on East Hillsborough Avenue and 43rd Street in Tampa.
He’s the one Velez-Dominguez says took her money.
When she went to get the car, she says he had already sold it to someone else. He then offered to provide her with a car of the same value, a Suzuki.
“He tried to give me a car that he wants to give me for the $4,000 flat,” said Valez-Dominguez.
“I said ‘no, the other car is the car I put the deposit on. Don’t give me what you want to give me.'”
Florida Highway Patrol Troopers began an investigation and found Velez-Dominguez wasn’t the only victim.
They found Abuelenen had been breaking the law for months. Investigators say in one case he illegally repossessed a car from a customer and then sold it to another.
Sandra Campbell and her granddaughter went to the dealership and ended up purchasing that one.
“I had no idea the car was stolen,” said Campbell.
“He wrote me out a sales slip and put another name on the slip and I asked him why and he said that he had called the DMV and was waiting on the title to come through for that car.”
Campbell says in her case, troopers say she will be able to keep the car because she was able to get the proper title for it.
Velez-Dominguez wasn’t so lucky. She has no car and she’s currently out thousands of dollars.
“My father is in intensive care right now. And I have to get to him and I don’t know how to get to him. I have to call people, or get a Lyft just to get to Tampa General Hospital,” said Velez-Dominguez.
“My dad is in real critical condition and with all of this going on I have no real transporation.”
Troopers arrested Abuelenen on Tuesday. He is facing grand theft, dealing in stolen property and fraud charges.
Deputies released him from the Hillsborough County Jail after he posted a $16,000 bond.
No one at the dealership was available for comment.