Ferrari Deposit Scammer Daniel Lesin Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison
Lesin forfeited nearly $2.3 million in cash, nearly $200,000 in luxury watches, and a Salvador Dali painting.
We've been following the wild story of Daniel Lesin since he was arrested by the FBI last year. The 24-year-old "billionaire," as he falsely proclaimed to be, was arrested in June 2022 after he began selling fake reservation slots for the highly coveted Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 in 2018 to buyers across the U.S. and Canada through multiple corporations. One buyer even shelled out seven figures for a place in line that simply didn't exist outside of Lesin's imagination.
Now, three months after pleading guilty to wire fraud, Lesin appeared in court Friday one last time for sentencing.
Despite being charged with four counts wire fraud and facing a potential maximum sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, Lesin was instead sentenced for only one count that will land him up to 45 months in a federal prison, along with three years of probation once released.
Lesin has also been subject to a forfeiture clause included in his original indictment, meaning that as part of his sentencing, he would need to forfeit any property which was deemed to have been acquired thanks to his ill-gotten gains. As such, he relinquished the nearly $2.3 million in cash along with nearly $200,000 in luxury Ulysse-Nardin and Rolex watches, and a Salvador Dali painting.
If you haven't been following Lesin's story, let me catch you up. Lesin was well known in the supercar circuit, with various claims of how he obtained his fortune and cars—oligarch parents, billionaire family members, gambling software, or whatever the flavor of the month explanation might have been. In fact, stories circulated of Lesin attempting to heighten his image by booking expensive hotel suites to bolster his image, only to reportedly ask for discounts later.
Members of the popular forum Ferrari Chat were even suspicious of Lesin. He claimed to have sold one of his businesses for a hefty sum, though his posts were met with skepticism by some members. He was eventually able to talk his way out of any conjecture and began to list cars for sale on the site. Court documents note that Lesin claimed that his family had "collectively owned some 75 Ferraris, and they have a strong and longstanding relationship with Ferrari" and that his family's unique relationship with the automaker "allowed them to go through a specialized application process and order a Ferrari Monza," despite allocations for the $2 million Prancing Horse being sold through.
The charges against him claim that he had either purchased specific Ferraris, or had access to purchase ones that were in the process being built—but in reality, he had neither. Still, Lesin lured buyers by presenting fake build sheets with forged purchase orders that he claimed to have already purchased using his own cash. For four years, Lesin reportedly persuaded buyers into giving him huge sums of cash (in the six-figure range) and wire transfers up-front with the promise of a car, but he wouldn't deliver anything in return.
Court documents identify at least five victims of Lesin's scam. One was taken for $78,355, while others suffered higher respective losses at $280,000, $300,000, $612,510, and a whopping $1 million. The total traceable funds identified in the court case was $2,270,865.50.
One of the victims appears to be the owner of a car dealership that planned to resell a vehicle purchased through Lesin. The victim impact statement claims that the scam cost the business $800,000 in profits and a loss of faith in the business from a long-term client.
Lesin currently has three ongoing lawsuits against him in a Florida court. One lawsuit is seeking $1.5 million in damages related to a fraudulent Ferrari purchase, and the other two are debt collection lawsuits filed by American Express for more than $125,000.
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