On September 12th, 2018

Five Arrested Following “Title-Washing” Grand Theft Auto Investigation Law enforcement officers from DMV & DOJ assist in Orange County Auto Theft Task Force investigation

SANTA ANA – On September 11, 2018, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced the August 2018 arrests of five suspects in Southern California connected to the theft of newer, high-end vehicles via fraud and/or the fraudulent removal of the legal owners from the vehicle titles, which is also known as “title-washing”.

The arrests were made by the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (OCATT), CHP, and California DOJ.

Arrested were:

  • Arthur Ray Ammons, 40, of Los Angeles;
  • Dwon Lamont McCarthy, 43, of Los Angeles;
  • Dunya Elina Wade, 45, of Los Angeles;
  • Jedon Jennifer Olivia Nelson, 27, of Los Angeles;
  • Gaylord John Pierce, 59, of Los Angeles.

The five were charged with various crimes including grand theft auto, grand theft, attempted grand theft auto, and receiving stolen property. Eight suspects remain outstanding and are actively being sought by the OCATT.

The OCATT initiated this investigation in September 2014. The stolen vehicles were either sold to innocent buyers, traded in for legitimate vehicles, exported out of the country, and/or utilized as collateral for obtaining cash loans.

As a result of this investigation, 31 vehicles and 13 suspects were identified with 29 of the stolen vehicles being recovered. Two of the vehicles are still missing. The total value of the stolen vehicles has been estimated to be in excess of $1 million.

OCATT is a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement program comprised of personnel from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, National Insurance Crime Bureau, California Department of Motor Vehicles – Investigations Unit, Brea Police Department, Buena Park Police Department, Fullerton Police Department, and Tustin Police Department.

“This case demonstrates what law enforcement officers from local and state agencies can do as they work together lending their expertise to investigations of various natures,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  “This case involved locations in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego.  It required a lot of law enforcement hours and commitment over the years.  I have confidence they’ll locate the eight outstanding suspects.”

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