Man Charged in Wisconsin Title Loan Car Theft

Inside Subprime: April 17, 2019

By Lindsey Frankel

A Howard, Wisconsin resident who conned multiple people and stole their cars was arrested last year and now faces a new charge for the same crime he committed after being released from jail.

James W Nys, 26, allegedly made agreements to purchase vehicles, but instead took them on test drives and never returned or paid for them. He would then sell the cars or trade them with people who were unaware of his scheme. Many of the vehicles also had auto title loans taken out against them, which Nys failed to pay off before selling the cars.

Victims would find out about the liens when attempts to register the vehicles revealed they did not have the titles to those cars.

Victims’ complaints were initially handled as separate civil matters, which allowed Nys to continue his scheme and harm even more people. Police say many of the people impacted by the fraud were Hispanic, which may have been intentional.

“Hispanics have a higher propensity of not reporting crimes because of all the fear of deportation and police,” said Green Bay Police Lt. Rick Belanger. Belanger also said that Nys believed he could get away with his crimes because his victims would be hesitant to want to go through the process of a lawsuit.

Last summer, police identified eight victims of the fraud, which led to his arrest for a probation violation.

Nys is now charged with nine misdemeanor accounts of theft by fraud. The latest charge, which happened after his release in February, involves a victim who agreed to purchase a truck from Nys for $900 on February 16. After Nys received the money, he told the victim his wife needed the car for a few more hours, but instead drove off with the vehicle and never returned. The victim recorded video footage of the incident, which he gave to the police.

Nys tried to bribe the man to drop the charges after the police were informed, the criminal complaint states. Police listened in on a call with the victim, in which Nys promised to pay the man in two installments. He also said he would give the victim a Jeep Cherokee for “the financial inconvenience,” according to the complaint. The Jeep he offered ended up having a lien against it.

Belanger also said Nys would play on the emotions of his victims, lying about hardship he or his wife were experiencing to get sympathy.

Nys is scheduled to appear in court on April 30.

“It’s nice to have it done, and it’s even better to, I think, get him held accountable and get him to realize that what you’re doing is criminal, obviously, and you’re going to be held accountable,” Belanger said.

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