Technical carnapping scheme busted inside LTO

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) with the help of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), arrested 3 erring personnel after they were caught stealing license plates from the agency’s plate making facility in East Avenue, Quezon City.

LTO Chief, Assistant Secretary Atty. Vigor D. Mendoza II identified the arrested suspects who are all assigned to the Plate Making Plant at the LTO Central Office in Quezon City. Mendoza also said that a manhunt operation is on the way for another LTO employee who allegedly served as the Team Leader.

Technical carnapping

According to LTO, the arrested suspects are part of a grand illegal scheme involving newly acquired motor vehicles through financing. The modus will start with a financier acquiring a vehicle through a bank or in-house financing just like a normal customer.

He or she will then sell the vehicle illegally, using duplicated plates and fake Original Receipt/Certificate of Registration (OR/CR). By doing so, the financier finds its way to provide a fraudulent plate and OR/CR from his/her contact inside LTO amounting to "more or less PHP 20,000" for each pair of plates. His/her contact will then request the Plate Making Plant (PMP) team leader to illegally put these so-called duplicate plates.

When the duplicated plate is already produced, the team leader “Warehouse Supervisor”, upon receiving his/her payment will then give the duplicated plates to the financier through courier to complete their transaction.

Asec. Mendoza said that the scheme could be classified as technical carnapping as motor vehicles do not necessarily need to be modified or tampered with anymore as it would only constitute the crime of carnapping which the syndicates are avoiding.

Today, those motor vehicles sourced from Rent-Tangay, Assume-Balance, Labas-Casa-Talon, etc. just needed falsified registration documents and other documentation such as agreements, etc.

“The most important part of Technical Carnapping is the role of the con artist that usually fronts in the transaction by disguising themselves as the registered car owner during the disposal phase,” said Mendoza.

“Hence, a backstop identification card and other proof that can support the belief that the con artist is the registered owner is essential in the documentation before the disposal of the motor vehicle. The con artist must have valid identification cards (falsified or bogus) that will match the name in the falsified registration documents,” he added.

Further, considering that the motor involved is still under a mortgage and the original documents were still under the bank’s possession, the syndicate has no option but to directly make a fake “original copy.”