By WSFA Staff
MONTGOMERY, AL – A Prattville man has pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud and transporting a stolen vehicle after he orchestrated multiple schemes to sell vehicles that did not belong to him, U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin announced.
Court records indicate there were three incidents in which Robert Malone, 35, sold stolen vehicles. In April 2017 Malone posted a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck for sale on Craigslist. The truck was a trade-in vehicle to the dealership for which he worked at the time, but he told a buyer that he was the owner. The buyer returned the vehicle after learning Malone did not own the truck, but Malone did not refund his money.
In January 2018, Malone was working on a Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck for someone and had it stored in his shop. He again created a Craigslist post listing it for sale, and a buyer reached out and arranged a trade. The buyer, learning Malone did not own the truck, returned it to its owner but never recovered the vehicle he traded for it.
In November 2018, Malone went to a car dealership in Georgia and was in the process of completing paperwork to purchase an Audi R8, but before the purchase was complete he drove the vehicle off the lot and back to Prattville. He reached out to someone who was looking to buy an Audi, and the buyer gave him a down payment for it, leaving his F-150 with Malone to hold until he could pick it up. Malone listed the truck on Instagram and sold it.
Though the Audi was returned to the dealership and the truck was returned to the buyer, neither victim recovered their losses.
Malone faces 20 years in prison as well as monetary penalties and restitution.
According to a spokesperson with the city of Prattville, Investigator Clint Lee began this investigation in December 2018. Malone was originally arrested in January 2019, but after reoffending while on bond he was arrested again.
The investigation began with the theft of one vehicle and about $37,000, but as it grew countless victims were uncovered in multiple states.
Lee was awarded Crimestopper of the Year in this case.