A Glen Cove mechanic specializing in classic cars is facing allegations he sold three 1930’s-era cars out from under one of his clients while charging the victim storage fees on fake cars he replaced them with, fleecing the victim out of more than $250,000.
Joseph Simeone, owner of Simeone Classic Cars, Inc., pleaded not guilty to grand larceny Thursday.
Nassau County prosecutors said the 71-year-old Torrington, Conn. man sold the victim’s 1934 Ford Roadster in 1997 for about $40,000, 1936 Ford Phaeton in 2001 for about $26,500 and 1939 Ford Cabriolet convertible in 2004 for about $40,000.
Simeone then allegedly obtained shells of the antique cars and covered them with tarp, in one case painting half the vehicle, in an attempt to cover up the alleged theft.
Authorities said he also charged the victim with repair, restoration, and storage fees through last year for vehicles that Simeone sold years prior.
“This defendant was playing a literal shell game to hide his crimes, dupe his victim, and pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen cash,” District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
The alleged scam was revealed in October of 2010, after the victim hired a private investigator to check on his antique cars. After learning that the cars were shells, the victim contacted the district attorney.
Simeone, who is represented by a Legal Aid attorney, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He is being held at Nassau Count jail after his bail was set at $25,000.