Ferrari Deposit Scammer Daniel Lesin Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
Lesin admitted to the court that he never had exclusive build slots for limited-edition Ferraris, despite charging others millions and providing fraudulent purchase orders.
Daniel Lesin pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal wire fraud charges brought by authorities for his role in a wide-ranging scheme selling fake Ferrari build slots to unsuspecting collectors and collecting millions.
For his role, Lesin could see up to 20 years in prison and pay restitution to his victims. Lesin is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 5, 2023.
Lesin’s claims were outrageous but almost believable in a world full of outrageous supercars at fantastical prices. He claimed he owned coveted Ferrari SP build slots for the multimillion-dollar hypercars thanks to his longtime association with the Italian automaker and sold those to eager collectors before his backstory unraveled for others. Wednesday he admitted that wasn't true.
Although well-known in local car collecting circuits, Lesin’s stories of oligarch parents, gambling software, or billionaire Russian family members seemed to consistently change just enough to evade scrutiny from many. He reportedly booked presidential suites for tens of thousands of dollars, only to ask for steep discounts.
"I've heard some crazy stories about him, saying he paid $15,000 a night for a presidential suite and then having a rally organizer confirm that he actually was spending $2,000 and tried to upgrade at the desk," travel agent David Eisen told The Drive. "I think that was part of his motive was to create the perception."
His story started unraveling when he began selling high-dollar Ferrari build slots with bogus or sham build sheets. Lesin received a $388,273 payment from an exotic car broker, a $370,000 loan, and another $280,264 loan collateralized with a Ferrari he didn’t own. All told, federal authorities said he received about $3 million in wire transfers based on fraudulent claims.
In addition to federal penalties, Lesin faces numerous civil cases for his claims. He faces at least one civil suit for $1.5 million and others for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In one of those claims, Lesin claimed he and his family "have collectively owned some 75 Ferraris, and they have a strong and longstanding relationship with Ferrari ... This unique relationship allowed them to go through a specialized application process and order a Ferrari Monza, an extraordinarily rare and special vehicle," according to court documents.
Lesin agreed Wednesday that wasn’t true in his criminal case.
Lesin was arrested June 2 and was released on bail.
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