Baldwin Hills man pleads guilty to luxury car scheme defrauding vehicle owners who wanted to get out of their leases

A Baldwin Hills man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge of defrauding victims nationwide into giving him their high-end and exotic vehicles.

Geoffrey Eldridge Hull, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a news release.

From April 2016 to November 2019, Hull marketed itself and its companies as being able to find people to take over the leases of high-end and exotic cars – such as Bentleys, Ferraris and Maseratis – from people no longer wishing to pursue their leases. , according to his plea agreement obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Despite assuring victims that his business was successful, Hull and his companies could not find people to take over those leases, the press release said.

Using a longtime friend and business associate to vouch for the quality of his program, Hull promised tenants that he would quickly find qualified buyers to legally assume the lease through the finance company of origin and he agreed to cover the monthly lease payments in the meantime.

But Hull offered the luxury cars for rent and passed on a small portion of the rent money to the original tenants, who were still responsible for the rental payments. And so Hull made few, if any, timely car rental payments.

He ignored victims’ requests for the return of their vehicles, prompting some to make stolen car reports to law enforcement. When some victims’ cars were returned after seizures, repossessions, and other means by law enforcement, the cars were often damaged, incurred toll and parking violations, or overshot. the mileage allocated, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

When the victims posted negative reviews of Hull and his company online, Hull changed his company’s name and took over the scheme. Company names used by Hull to operate the program included Exotic Lease Transfer, Luxe Lease Transfer, Shift Lease, Veer Lease, Torque Transfer, Haven Transfer, Early Lease and Open Lease Transfer.

Hull, who already has three grand theft auto theft convictions, also used a series of aliases as part of the scheme, including “Geoff Eldredge”, “Geoff Eldridge”, “Jefrii Eldridge”, “Geoffrey Hulle”, ” Jeff Bluthenthal” and “Jeff H.”

In total, Hull defrauded at least 128 people and caused an actual loss of at least $1,560,321, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 26, when Hull will face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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