Broker Pleads Guilty in Luxury Car Scam

In 2011, NBC 7 Investigates first reported on John Mussari and allegations of fraud.


A former Miramar car dealer pleaded guilty Thursday to eight counts of defrauding customers who bought and sold exotic cars from him.

In 2011, NBC 7 Investigates first reported on John Mussari and allegations of fraud.

The former car broker entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors who alleged that Mussari had scammed his victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bad car deals.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors said Mussari also paid another $30,000 in restitution to victims, bringing the total paid back to $112,000.

Prosecutor Luis Mendez said that more is owed to victims but total amount won't be known until Mussari is actually sentenced.

One victim, Dave Baker, told NBC 7 that he has received $45,000 from Mussari, but is still owed $15,000 in restitution. 

Baker believes the sentencing is light, given the amount of money lost. 

"[Mussari] thought we were all in the wrong here, you know, and it was all our fault and we were liars. And he couldn't get away with it," Baker said. "And I hope he realizes it, and in the future, it doesn't happen again."

Mussari's lawyer, Anthony Columbo, told NBC 7 that his client apologizes to his victims for his bad business decisions, which he says were a result of the economic downtown of 2008.

"He would like his former clients to know that he made a mistake and that he's doing everything he can to provide them back with the restitution that's owed," said Columbo.

Mussari's sentencing will be in June, and he faces up to one year in custody. Mendez said Mussari's crimes are serious enough that he should serve time in custody. 

However, his attorney is expected to argue for probation with GPS monitoring and/or work furlough instead. 

In all, eight victims were involved in the case against Mussari, and Columbo said only three victims are owed restitution.

NBC 7 Investigates first revealed the complaints from customers about Mussari Motors in 2011. According to prosecutors, Mussari took pre-owned Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Mercedes on consignment, failed to pay the original owners, sold single cars to multiple buyers and defrauded finance companies and banks. 

His scheme resulted in a total loss of more than $100,000 but less than $500,000, prosecutors said.

Moving forward, Mussari now faces separate federal charges of conspiracy and money laundering filed last November, but his lawyer insisted those charges are false and said Mussari will fight those allegations.

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