Massachusetts Man Arrested for Allegedly Running Motor Vehicle Theft Scheme

An Avon, Mass., man has been arrested and arraigned in connection with allegedly running a major motor vehicle theft scheme.

Authorities arrested Jose Sostre on Tuesday in Avon. Following his arrest, Sostre was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on charges that include three counts of possession of stolen motor vehicles and nine counts for the removal or alteration of motor vehicle identification numbers.

“Offenses like the ones alleged here can allow unsafe cars on city streets, placing real people at real risk,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley in a press release issued by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.

The Attorney General’s Office previously prosecuted Sostre in connection with running a counterfeit motor vehicle inspection sticker scheme. Sostre pleaded guilty to the charges in August 2015, served 90 days of a one-year sentence and is currently on probation related to that conviction. This most recent case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office due to the multi-county nature of the investigation.

The Attorney General’s investigation began in January 2016, when Massachusetts State Police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle and ultimately pulled over Sostre driving that vehicle in Brockton, Mass. After towing the vehicle, and upon further examination, investigators learned that the vehicle had all identifying numbers removed and replaced with those from a salvage vehicle of similar make and model in an effort to disguise it. Investigators also found a forged application for a duplicate certificate of title for the salvage vehicle. It is alleged that the duplicate title was used to further hide the true identity of the stolen vehicle.

Through the course of the investigation, authorities ultimately found an additional five stolen cars that follow the same criminal scheme, as well as additional criminal activity, including forged RMV documents, misleading statements to police officers, possession of burglarious tools, removal or alteration of vehicle identification numbers and counterfeit motor vehicle inspection stickers.

Two of the motor vehicles recovered in the investigation had counterfeit motor vehicle inspection stickers placed on them. The state’s motor vehicle inspection program, a joint program with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), requires yearly safety tests for all motor vehicles. Passenger vehicles that are less than 15 years old are subject to yearly safety and emission inspections, which can only be conducted at facilities licensed by the RMV. Inspection tests can only be conducted by people licensed by the RMV. The program is designed to ensure only safe and clean vehicles operate on the state’s roads.

“Motor vehicle theft schemes place all travelers on the road at risk,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin C. Deveney in the release.

On Monday, a Statewide Grand Jury sitting in Suffolk County returned 48 indictments in Suffolk, Norfolk and Plymouth counties in connection with the investigation on the charges including six counts for possession of a stolen motor vehicle, 28 counts for the removal or alteration of motor vehicle identification numbers, one count for possession of a burglarious tool, one count for misleading a police officer, ten counts for forging certificates of title and related documents and two counts for counterfeit inspection stickers.

Sostre pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday and was held on $2,500 cash bail. He will be arraigned in Norfolk and Plymouth Superior Courts at later dates. This investigation remains ongoing. The described charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Alathea Porter, of the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, with assistance from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Massachusetts Environmental Police, MassDOT, RMV and the Attorney General’s Digital Forensics Lab.

Source: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General