4 sentenced in racketeering scheme involving Indy used car business

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Four people charged in a racketeering scheme involving an Indianapolis car lot learned their sentences this week.

All four faced federal charges in connection with the case, which first came to light after authorities raided Elite Imports in September 2015. Federal prosecutors said they were involved in a series of schemes leading to fraud and financial losses for individuals and businesses alike.

Sentenced were:

  • Mohamed Noshi Mahmoud, a/k/a Noshi 41, Fishers, 70 months
  • Mahdi Khelifi, 26, Indianapolis, 75 months
  • Hamzi Dridi, a/k/a Alex, 28, Indianapolis, 72 months
  • Issa Kayyali, 30, Indianapolis, 35 months

According to federal prosecutors, Mohamed Noshi Mahmoud was the principal manager of Elite Enterprise, which managed two used car dealerships and a series of “shell” companies in Indianapolis. Investigators say he directed others to carry out the scheme.

Khelifi was a managing sales associate involved in the day-to-day operations of the dealership, Kayyali was a sales associate and Dridi was the service manager and mechanic.

The charges stemmed from three separate but related schemes. The first involved getting fraudulent documents and submitting them to lending and financial institutions to underwrite the purchase of cars, trucks and motorcycles for Elite’s customers. Those documents included social security numbers, dates of birth and paystubs from Elite’s shell companies.

The workers would then submit fake claims regarding stolen vehicles. They would claim vehicles were damaged or stolen and get money from insurance companies to benefit Elite. However, the “stolen vehicles” were often taken to a “chop shop” for disassembly.

The third component of the scheme involved defrauding companies that provided short-term financing and lines of credit for vehicles in inventory.

All were charged under the federal RICO statute (racketeer influenced and corrupt organization).