From the ‘We’re not kidding file’ comes news from that hotbed of espionage and Bondian villainy, New York, comes news that car sales in the world of exotics have gotten so cut-throat that dealers have actually started spying on one another. And this, it would seem, is a tale of not only greed, but disgruntled former employees with more than an axe to grind.
Well, OK, two out of three ain’t bad, we got spying AND Aston Martins, but near as I can tell, there’s a complete lack of Sean Connery involved here.
The owners of Universal Autosports in Glen Cove, Long Island, Giacomo Ciaccia and Leka Vuksanaj, were arrested at their homes, along with Creative Director Michael Lussos, according to acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin in Manhattan said in a statement. They are accused of illegally tapping into the e-mail of Ferrari Maserati of Fort Lauderdale-Long Island in Plainview, New York.
Ciaccia, Vuksanaj and Lussos gained access to the Ferrari dealer’s e-mail server about 2,500 times over the course of seven months, from February to September, last year from their homes as well as their offices at Universal Autosports, according to the criminal complaint dated April 16.
According to the statement “In one instance a dealer associated with Universal Autosports e-mailed a customer who had been negotiating with Ferrari Maserati (Fort Lauderdale-Long Island) to buy a rare Ferrari Enzo worth more than $1.3 million.” The spies from UA wrote, “Is there any way I can help or get in the middle. Have they found you a car yet?” according to the complaint. Pretty damn skeevy, huh?
At their first court appearance, Ciaccia and Vuksanaj were released on bonds of $100,000 each. Lussos was released on a $50,000 bond. Not chump change, but hey, they’re Bentley & Aston dealers, they should probably have the scratch. They also appear to have real good lawyers, or at least lawyers that know just how deep the manure is.
Take Stanley Cohen, Vuksanaj’s lawyer, who said, “I’m used to real espionage cases. I’ve seen the complaint. I’m rolling my eyes.” I wonder what Mrs. Vuksanaj (if there is one) is doing right about now. Ciaccia’s lawyer, Ronald Fischetti said “They have been charged with reading somebody’s e-mail and using that for their business. It doesn’t seem like it warrants” the attention it’s getting. Sure, and I have expect Fischetti to start declaring how his client is a church-going guy that’s a pillar of the business community.
Lussos’s lawyer, Peggy Cross, had no comment.
Ciaccia, Vuksanaj and Lussos outfit, Universal Autosports, “deals in rare and expensive exotic automobiles” and opened in February 2008 in the old location formerly held by Ferrari & Maserati dealership they are accused of spying on, according to the complaint. Ciaccia was the Ferrari & Maserati dealer’s general manager and Lussos was their webmaster until they were terminated in March 2007 after new management took over, according to the complaint. Lussos, as one would expect from a web guy, set up Ferrari Maserati’s e-mail accounts, according to the complaint.
As of last September, Ferrari Maserati of Fort Lauderdale-Long Island learned that employees’ e-mails were being intercepted and forwarded to an unauthorized e- mail address on its server. The F/M of FL-LI e-mails contained information about its customers, inventory and employee compensation, according to the complaint signed by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent John Leo Jr. Which not only adds to the skeeviness, but also means the Feds are involved (and let’s not go into just how much fun a federal penitentiary can be, shall we).
Ciaccia, Vuksanaj and Lussos, who are all in their 40s and should know better, are charged with one count each of “conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and obtain information for commercial gain and to further an intended fraud,” according to the statement. The maximum penalty if they’re found guilty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The 250 large they can probably get, no prob. But if they do the full five year stretch in a federal prison, they’re only hope is that they get an OK celly and they don’t end up getting turned out into someone’s bitch too soon. If I were them, the checks to the lawyers would be flying like snowflakes while I was continually working out, taking lots of heavy classes in self defense and close quarters fighting and watching all the episodes of Oz.
Either that or very quietly looking into tramp steamer sailing times from the Port of New York.