Valley residents lose nearly ,000 trying to buy used cars

Valley residents lose nearly $50,000 trying to buy used cars

All the victims used the same car dealer, a man identified in police records and lawsuits as Jorge Carlos Velarde Cruz.

MESA, Ariz. – Buying a new car can be exciting, but it turned into a nightmare for 18 Valley residents after they say they lost nearly $50,000 in cash.

All the victims used the same car dealer, a man identified in police records and lawsuits as Jorge Carlos Velarde Cruz.

RELATED: Phoenix used car dealer accused of stealing from employers and customers

Velarde promised to deliver the cars within weeks, but the victims never received the car or the full down payment they gave him, according to the documents.

“I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Angelica Cabrera said.

Together, Cabrera, her father and brother gave Velarde $10,000 in cash for two trucks and a car they wanted to buy from him in 2021. in June at his home in Mesa. He gave them receipts and told them their new cars would be shipped from Nevada and arrive in Arizona within a week.

“The cars didn’t come that weekend and he just kept making excuses after excuses. “Oh, there are no cars here; they will take a little longer. And it went on for months,” Cabrera said.

After pressure from Cabrera and her family, Velarde on August 2. returned the $2,800, but that was the last they heard from him, police said.

“There was a point where two, three weeks went by and it was just excuse after excuse, and then we were like, ‘OK, this guy is cheating on us,'” she said.

Cabrera’s mother filed a report with the Mesa Police Department after she went on Facebook and found out her family wasn’t the only one getting the money.

18 victims

January 25 Edna Márquez posted on Facebook that the man who promised to sell her the car allegedly left with $5,000 in cash. She identified the man as Jorge Carlos Velarde Cruz and attached a photo of his Mexican voter ID card.

“I posted it to see if someone would recognize it and tell me to give it back because I need that money to cover medical expenses,” Márquez said. “I was surprised I wasn’t the only one.”

The single mother of two has multiple sclerosis. Her condition worsens every day, and she has to see doctors several times a week, she said.

“My need to have a car led me to make this decision and to trust a friend who referred me to him,” said Márquez.

Márquez agreed to buy a Jeep Cherokee from Velarde. Her money was in the bank, and since she didn’t have a car, Velarde allegedly offered to pick her up.

“He came to my house and we went to the bank,” she said. “He queued for me because I can’t stand for too long due to my condition and I paid him back at my house.

Márquez handed Velarde $5,000 in cash and, like Cabrera, she also received her “purchase” receipt for 2021. June 4 The Jeep Cherokee was supposed to arrive in a few days, but it didn’t.

Velarde told her there was a problem with the cargo the cars were carrying and he needed more time. Márquez asked for her money back.

“I told him I could wait for him, but I needed a fair deed and we are going to the notary and he will agree to pay me back,” Márquez said. “He came and picked me up again and we got a letter that we both signed.”

“This letter informs everyone that Jorge Carlos Velarde in 2021 will pay Edna L. Marquez Flores a lump sum of $5,000 in cash on Sunday, June 27. This is for 2017. Jeep Cherokee ZRT Sport. In case of non-payment, she has the right to take legal action.

However, Velarde did not return a penny.

“He just crossed his arms and took the money without caring about my health,” Márquez said.

in 2022 January 7 the judge ruled in her favor. She posted all her documents and evidence online.

“It spread in one day,” Márquez said.

Model

Márquez’s social media post has been shared 1,700 times and received almost 900 comments. People shared their stories of alleged similar encounters with a man they also identified as Jorge Carlos Velarde Cruz.

“We just couldn’t hear anything from him,” Ana Orozco said.

Orozco, her sister and mother gave Velarde $6,000 in cash and Orozco’s 2014 Mercedes in exchange for three vehicles they never received, court records show.

“He just kept giving us excuses; he said, ‘My son is dying,’ and then his mother died,” Orozco said. “Obviously you feel bad for him, e.g [maybe] life is not going your way.”

12News has learned of the 18 victims who lost $47,300 in cash and two cars valued at $23,000, according to police reports.

All the victims said Velarde made excuses for them for weeks. In the messages shared with 12News, Velarde is heard saying that his mother had passed away and that she had been “sick for two days.”

In another audio message, Velarde said: “My brother had an accident last night. Thank God he is fine.”

Orozco’s mother received a video from Velarde in which he showed the baby lying in bed. Velarde claimed it was his son, who had been in the hospital but was “finally home” in his own bed.

“Honestly, I felt bad,” Javier Bojorquez said. “He called me in a broken voice and said his mother had died. I liked it and said I would give it time.

in 2021 August 3 Bojorquez gave Velarde $4,500 as a down payment on the truck. His last contact was in December after repeated excuses and no refund.

In all cases, Velarde eventually stopped responding to all potential buyers.

12News made several attempts to reach Velarde and his home by phone, but was unsuccessful.

Police are investigating

Mesa police began an investigation after receiving six reports of fraud involving 12 victims involving one suspect: Jorge Carlos Velarde Cruz.

Police reports show detectives spoke with Velarde at least three times in 2021. at the police station, at his home and by phone in September, October and December.

In September, Velarde met with an officer at the police station after the woman said she had agreed to change her 2015 license. BMW and $3,500 in cash toward 2018. Jeep Rubicon, but the dealer didn’t deliver the car or return her car. to the records.

Police let him go because Velarde agreed to return the victim’s cash and the money he received for selling the BMW. At the time of the report, according to the documents, the car was transferred to another owner.

In October, officers responded to Velarde Mesa’s home. A woman named Mary reported that she gave the dealer $7,000 for a car that he would never build and he would not pay her back.

“Jorge admitted to making the deal with Maria, and Jorge admitted that he did not provide the promised vehicle and did not return the money to Maria,” the police report said.

Then in December, while investigating another report of suspected fraud involving a woman who paid $4,000 for a car, officers spoke to Velarde by phone, who allegedly “admitted … that it was wrong and that he needed to make a change,” records state.

In the same phone conversation, police said Velarde “expressed remorse for his ‘wrong,'” documents show.

During the investigation, officers noted several calls to Velarde’s home related to reports of fraud. Because different officers responded to those calls, it wasn’t until December that they connected the reports to the same suspect.

According to records, in 2021 August 1 Velarde called the police because “there were some entities at his residence that he owed money to and they refused to leave.”

Six victims say they recognized Velarde in the photos as the man they say took their money, including a woman whose civil suit against Velarde is still pending.

Mesa police turned their case over to the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office, which dismissed the case.

The agency found that prosecutors “could not prove that these transactions were criminal,” the records said.

In a statement to 12News, the MCAO said the case “does not meet our charging standard of a reasonable likelihood of indictment, and charges will not be filed at this time.”

“We recognize that the business practices of Jorge Carlos Velarde Cruz are troubling and negatively impacting members of our community.” Unfortunately, the facts and evidence in this case do not establish criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. This service deeply sympathizes with those who had dealings with this individual,” the statement read.

Another agency, the Arizona Inspector General’s Office, tells 12News that they handle criminal cases involving the cars and are willing to assist Mesa police.

12News reported the matter to Mesa police, and a spokesperson said they are investigating.

“We all worked hard for that money, and it’s not fair that someone just comes and takes your money,” Cabrera said. “He needs to stop doing this and I want him to pay for what he’s done.”

If you’ve had a similar experience, contact reporter Adriana Loya at [email protected]

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