In the last couple of weeks, there has been a photo of a letter circulating around on Instagram and Facebook and it appears to come from the Florida Highway Patrol Bureau of Criminal Investigations. The letter says that almost 400 cars that were imported from Japan to the US, were imported illegally and fraudulently, and those cars will all have their titles revoked.
When I initially saw this, I was thinking there’s no way that Florida is just going to revoke that many titles for cars that are already on the road and clearly not causing any issues, but unfortunately, it’s true. So, let’s take a look at what happened and how nearly 400 imported cars are now being considered contraband and can’t be titled anywhere in the US.
This whole thing stems from an investigation of fraudulent applications for titles and more specifically three companies in the import market run by a few people, and that’s Solo Alliance LLC, Soho Imports LLC, and J-Spec Garage LLC, as well as others, however, those are the primary offenders.
With that, Soho Alliance and Soho Imports are the same entity run by a gentleman named Andres Diaz, who was arrested recently and his companies had their Florida vehicle dealers licenses revoked. There’s also J-Spec Garage, which is also owned by Diaz, and those three companies make up for nearly all 400 cars on the list.
Shoutout to thegentlemanracer.com for digging further into this and coming up with this document, which basically goes over the whole case and all the little details. In the document, we find that this whole thing started back in 2014.
“Soho did submit to the Department as supporting documentation a Form HSMV 84044, Affidavit, in which Respondent did use a false or fictitious name, give a false or fictitious address, or make any false statement in any application or affidavit required under the provisions of chapter 319 or in a bill of sale or sworn statement of ownership or otherwise commit a fraud in any application.”
And really this whole investigation probably started for two reasons: one, Toprank Importers putting out a blog post in 2014 accusing the owner of Soho of forging documents to get titles with pretty clear proof of it, and two from YouTubers and internet influencers flexing illegally imported cars and thinking nothing of it.
What’s really interesting about the blog post from Toprank Importers is that it shows how simple this whole thing was. The “forging” of the documents was pretty much just checking boxes that weren’t supposed to be checked, which claimed that these cars had certification labels for US road use, when in fact they didn’t because these cars were certified for US road use, which is why we didn’t get them here in the first place.
So, really, it wasn’t anything super complicated or elaborate. Really, they kind of just lied about the legality of those vehicles, but it doesn’t look like they had to produce any fake documents or have an inside man at the DMV or anything like that. Regardless though, this is considered forgery and therefore those vehicles were given titles illegally.
This list of cars is pretty long, it’s a lot of Honda Civics, Integras, Odysseys, Mitsubishi EVOs, Nissan S15s, Nissan Skylines, and GTRs, a few Subarus, a lot of Toyota Supras, and a few others. The strangest car on the list is a Porsche 911 Turbo from 2001 which is actually a US-spec car, so I’m not exactly sure how that got tied into this whole thing.
And the thing that really sucks about this is that it’s not just Florida revoking these titles, these cars can’t be used anywhere in the US now.
“All vehicles identified in this investigation that have obtained fraudulent Florida titles will be ineligible for titling in Florida, regardless of any corrective measures taken. Furthermore, the United States Department of Homeland Security has notified the Florida Highway Patrol that all vehicles in this investigation, that have had a Florida title canceled/revoked, have been placed on a contraband list, and would be ineligible for a title/registration in any state.”
So that means if you own one of these 400 cars, you’re fucked. It can never be used on any US roads regardless of any corrective measures you take. What it doesn’t mention, is if these vehicles will be legal to title once they’re passed 25 years old, but I’m assuming not because these vehicles are also now considered contraband. So, you only have a few options: never drive these vehicles on the street, export it to a country where you can legally title it and drive it, or surrender it to Customs as a piece of contraband.
I understand that these vehicles aren’t considered “legal” but to fuck over the owners of these vehicles doesn’t seem right. It’s not the owner’s fault that the importer did illegal things to get the title for the car, so to punish the owners of the cars by making those cars effectively making those cars worthless and illegal, just seems wrong, especially considering the fact that these cars aren’t some sort of crazy drug or weapons or something.
It’s literally just a car that didn’t meet the exact US specifications for safety or emissions. These cars aren’t some sort of menace to public safety or air quality or anything. They’re literally just cars, so it sucks to see so many innocent owners caught up in this and screwed over.
Again, big shoutout to the Gentleman Racer for digging into a lot of this and coming up with documents that no one else found. I’ll leave a link in the description to their article which goes over all of this and includes all the documents and nitty-gritty details. Without them uncovering this info, no one would be aware of the situation, so be sure to check out their website.