A con artist impersonating a DMV employee took dozens of unsuspecting customers for a ride, fleecing them out of tens of thousands of dollars, before Lodi police put the brakes on the heartless scheme, authorities said.
Mohammad A. Aburomi, 61, actually had his victims meet him at the agency's offices in Lodi and Wayne, where he promised to help them cut the line for payments of $1,500 to $2,000 each, investigators found.
"He had a two-way radio and all the garb, including a black shirt that identified him as a DMV worker," Lodi Police Sgt. Dominic Miller said. "He even had applications that he'd give them."
The Paterson resident recruited his marks at various restaurants and businesses in the area. Some were undocumented immigrants, others were ordinary citizens -- "various kinds of people, no one particular type," the sergeant said.
Victims were directed to a DMV facility, where they found Aburomi waving them inside, Miller said.
After collecting the cash, he said, Aburomi told victims to "give him a few minutes" while he processed their paperwork for licenses, registrations and other documents.
"They think he's going in the back to get a license or whatever," the sergeant said, "then he just disappears."
Apparently no one in charge noticed what Aburomi was up to. Most of the victims didn't say anything to anyone, perhaps out of confusion or embarrassment.
They had trouble tracking him down afterward: Aburomi used a variety of aliases -- among them, Mohaed Mustafa, Omar Elromny, Mike Aburomi and Usaf Ali, records show.
A judge in Hackensack released Aburomi from the Bergen County Jail on Thursday, Sept. 22, less than 24 hours after Lodi detectives arrested him.
The investigators have documented a couple dozen incidents and pending cases -- but they also suspect there may be more.
Anyone who might have been victimized, or knows someone who has, is asked to call Lodi police headquarters at (973) 473-7600. Push #6 at the prompt.
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