Pair accused of stealing tribal members' identities to buy cars

The couple is accusing of using the names of tribal members to purchase luxury vehicles. Photo from International BMW

A Wisconsin man and his wife are behind bars for allegedly stealing tribal members' identities in order to avoid paying taxes on luxury vehicles.

Federal authorities say Mao Peng and Min Ai, both 25, purchased more than 150 cars worth $9.1 million. By claiming the buyers were tribal members, they avoided more than $515,000 in state and local taxes.

According to documents filed in federal court, some cars were purchased in the names of members of the Oneida Nation. One tribal member said his identity was used six times without permission, including twice when he was incarcerated.

"His family would visit him in jail and tell him that he received dealership paperwork and license plates," a special agent with the Secret Service wrote in an affidavit.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, sales to tribal members are exempt from taxation as long as the sale occurs on the reservation and the tribal member lives on the reservation. Peng and Mai actively recruited tribal members to exploit the exemption, the Secret Service said in his affidavit.

Other people who allegedly conspire with the couple could face charges although none were named in the affidavit.

Get the Story:
Man accused of identity theft, fraud in car scheme arrested (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/19)

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