Buyers of 11 cars say they paid a Miami car salesman $179,000 but never got their cars

Customers of a Northwest Miami-Dade car dealership say an employee pulled the ultimate used car salesman con, giving them something for their money that sucked worse than a lemon: nothing.

Two buyers went to police after spotting the arrest of Carlos Ravelo on NBC6.

Arrest reports say Ravelo, 51, got handcuffed by Miami-Dade police at Kendall Hyundai and lives in North Miami-Dade, but claim he did his money-for-nothing scam while a finance manager at AutoNation Honda, 5925 NW 167th St.

Since his May 1 arrest, Ravelo’s been a resident of Miami-Dade Corrections’ Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center charged with eight counts of third degree grand theft; two counts of second degree grand theft from $20,000 to $100,000; four counts of worthless check given; one count of theft from an elderly person from $10,000 to $50,000; and one count of organized scheme to defraud charge.

Ravelo’s bond is $67,000.

Buyers say he gave them a great price. He just didn’t give them their car

Totaling the amounts on the police reports, Ravelo took $179,800 from buyers he convinced to pay him in cash. As described in the arrest reports, Ravelo used his position of financial manager to paint a screen of legitimacy on each transaction and, in one case, familiarity.

One report says a buyer trusted Ravelo because she’d bought a car before at AutoNation Honda and Ravelo went to school with her mother-in-law.

“[Ravelo] told her he could ge ther a really good deal on a car, but it had to be a cash purchase,” that report says. “The victim trusted that since the deal was takeing place at AutoNation Honda, it was a legitimate deal.”

After she gave Ravelo $32,000 over two installments, he “gave her an excuse as to why she couldn’t take the vehicle on the day of the final payment. After a few weeks, [Ravelo] stopped picking up the victim’s phone calls, and the victim demanded her money back.”

When she went into the dealership, she found out Ravelo didn’t work there anymore.

Earlier in December, Ravelo told a buyer he could sell a 2019 Honda Civic, which Kelly Blue Book says sells around Miami for around $20,000, for $8,900; a 2019 CRV for $15,000, which is about $5,000 under the cheapest price around town; and a 2015 Honda CRV for $10,000, or about $2,000 under the lowest dealer price in Miami.

“The only catch was that he could only purchase the vehicle cash, through him, since he was the financial manager at the dealership,” the arrest report says.

The buyer paid the too-good-to-be-true prices on Dec. 3, 6 and 9, but Ravelo said the cars “were at the shop.” This continued until January 2023 when the customer asked Ravelo for his money back. Ravelo told the man with all the supervisors there for the week, he couldn’t do it.

“A few days later, when the victim returned to the dealership to confront [Ravelo], he was advised by someone that [Ravelo] no longer worked there and that he should file a police report because there are other victims that were scammed by the subject,” an arrest report said.

Anyone who believes they were victimized by Ravelo or any other used car salesman should call Miami-Dade police at 305-994-1000.