KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) A Kansas City, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for a $145,000 fraud scheme in which he purported to sell classic automobiles that he did not actually own.
Travis D. Oberg, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The court sentenced Oberg to eight years and four months for the conviction in this case, plus 20 months consecutively for violating the terms of his supervised release on an unrelated conviction for an earlier fraud scheme. The court also ordered Oberg to pay a total of $145,070 in restitution to his victims.
On April 4, 2019, Oberg pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of transporting a stolen vehicle. Oberg admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud persons who could be induced to purchase automobiles he offered for sale, although he did not own the automobiles and had no authority to sell the automobiles.
During the time he was engaged in this criminal fraud scheme, Oberg was under supervised release for a prior felony conviction. Oberg had been sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison after defrauding dozens of victims of more than $900,000. He was released to supervision in 2016 and immediately embarked on the fraud scheme in this case.
Oberg operated under the business name “Maaco” (after establishing “maaco sales and reconditioning LLC”) as a pretense to imply that he was involved in a legitimate automobile-related business. Oberg obtained photographic images of the automobiles and images of title documents. He showed the images of the automobiles and title documents to buyers to bolster the pretense that he was authorized to sell the automobiles. After a buyer agreed to purchase an automobile, and after a buyer sent payment for an automobile, Oberg sent text messages and email messages giving false excuses and false information regarding failure to deliver the automobile.
For example, a victim in Connecticut paid $53,000 to purchase four classic automobiles: a 1973 BMW, a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL, a 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, and a 1967 Jaguar XKE 2+2 Coupe. Oberg did not own these vehicles, and had no authority to sell them. He refused the victim’s demand to refund the money when he failed to deliver the automobiles. Oberg then induced another victim in California to purchase the same 1967 Jaguar and 1985 Porsche he had purported to sell to the victim in Connecticut. The California victim paid Oberg $37,000, but the automobiles were never delivered, nor did Oberg refund the purchase prices.
Oberg also admitted that he induced another victim into a consignment agreement for the restoration and sale of a 1957 Thunderbird. Oberg falsely represented that he would restore the Thunderbird and sell it on the victim’s behalf. Oberg did not tell the owner that he sold the automobile to a person in Connecticut for $12,500 and shipped the automobile from Missouri to Connecticut.