Scheme involving illegal Schenectady car shop and bogus Texas paper tags smashed



SCHENECTADY – An Amsterdam male who ran an unlicensed vehicle mend shop in Schenectady that created income distributing pretend Texas paper tags has pleaded guilty to felony plan to defraud, in accordance to the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Workplace. 

The admission Tuesday by Earl Armstrong before County Choose Matthew Sypniewski phone calls for Armstrong to plead guilty to grand larceny, a felony. On both offenses, he will obtain a penalty of 1½ to 3 decades, which will run concurrently. 

The defendant, who will be sentenced as a two-time felony offender, will also have to pay an unknown sum of restitution.   
Sentencing is slated for July 19.  He experienced confronted a 15-rely indictment.

The probe into the illicit activity was introduced almost two decades ago when DA investigators noticed Armstrong driving a blue Ford F-150 truck with a short-term Texas paper license plate – which have been displaying up in substantial figures in the region these days – throughout a surveillance operation in Schenectady. 

Investigators before long identified that Armstrong’s driver’s license was revoked and the truck he was driving had been described stolen in Maryland.  The motor vehicle was afterwards seized and returned to the automobile dealership there. 

The investigators also acquired that in Texas, motor vehicle dealerships have accessibility to an electronic license plate program, recognized as the “e-TAG” technique, with handful of safeguards in position, that lets for the development of short-term license plates for use in very constrained cases. 

Moreover, they located out that the e-TAG method was not tied into the national digital database of felony justice information and facts normally utilised by federal, point out, and local law enforcement, such as the point out Section of Motor Cars, which would have recognized the motor vehicle as stolen. 

The prevalence of Texas paper tags led to a multi-agency regional sting that resulted in the confiscation of many stolen automobiles, firearms and narcotics, as well as the discovery of drivers operating automobiles with revoked or suspended driving privileges. 

Law enforcement officers figured out Armstrong, 41, was providing the Texas license plates for hundreds of pounds out of his unlicensed car maintenance shop in the area of Point out and Hulett streets in Hamilton Hill.  

They raided the illegal organization and seized various bogus Texas license plates and laminating elements that the defendant used to affix the bogus plates to buyer autos. 

District Lawyer Robert Carney in a assertion credited the prosecution to the curiosity of one particular of his investigators, James McCrum.

“It turns out that Mr. Armstrong performed a modest neighborhood component in a scheme in which federal authorities have taken down a ring of people today in Texas and New York accountable for issuing nearly 600,000 fraudulent short-term plates,” explained Carney. “These phony plates could be used, as this one particular was, to conceal a stolen vehicle, or to be placed on automobiles employed to commit other crimes and stay clear of detection.” 

The circumstance was investigated by the DA Office’s fiscal crimes device and is staying prosecuted by ADA William Lemon.



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