Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help tracking down a criminal couple who have used less than savory business tactics to scam cash and cars from local residents.
Over the last few months, detectives have received approximately 10 new cases of victims being conned in an auto sales scheme. The suspects, who are using fake ID’s from North Carolina under the names of Donnie and Angel Williams, were buying and selling cars online through Ebay and other car sales websites.
In some instances, they sold cars that weren’t theirs and provided customers with fraudulent titles. In other cases, they were selling cars and receiving money for the sales, but never actually delivered the cars to the buyers. Detectives believe that these two con artists have been committing similar crimes throughout the state, and now they’re on the run again, after pocketing a large amount of money from unsuspecting local victims.
In late July, one victim reported to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office that he had given his 2011 GMC truck to Donnie Williams, who was going to facilitate the sale of his vehicle. After several failed attempts to reach Williams to find out whether or not the car sold, the victim learned that his truck had indeed been purchased, but Williams pocketed the proceeds and to this date, has not been tracked down.
Around that same time frame, a second victim reported to the Sheriff’s Office that he found an ad on Ebay for a 1970 Cadillac convertible. The victim notified the seller, Donnie Williams, that he wanted to purchase the car. They negotiated a price of $7,000, and the victim was instructed to wire transfer $7,000 into a specific account. A few days passed and the victim never received the car he paid for. He tried multiple times to contact Williams, to no avail.
Several other victims in Lee County have reported that they, too, have fallen prey to Donnie and Angel Williams’ fraudulent scheme. All known phone numbers for the two are now out of service, and all social media links have been abandoned or taken down.
The real Donnie Williams is actually a gentleman from North Carolina who is in ill health, residing in an assisted living facility. No information is known on who Angel Williams is. What detectives do believe is that the two are traveling together, and are likely still perpetuating similar crimes.
“These two formulated a system where they negotiated deals that gave the appearance of being legitimate, but in reality, it was all smoke and mirrors,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator. “As a result of their actions, car buyers have been left with no cash and no car, and others are now in possession of cars that are legally not theirs. And until these two suspects are apprehended, the victims have little to no recourse.”
Anyone with information on these two suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com.