CALIFORNIA—Geoffrey Eldridge Hull, 40, of Baldwin Hills was arrested Wednesday, July 8, on charges of obtaining luxury vehicles from people who wanted out of their leases. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, July 9.
Federal charges allege that Hull “conned victims from across the nation into giving him their high-end and exotic vehicles with bogus promises he would find other people to take over their leases,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District Of California.
According to the indictment, Hull allegedly marketed himself and his company with services of finding people to take over a lease from individuals who no longer wanted to stay on their lease. The vehicles included high-end automobiles, such as Bentleys, Ferraris, Porsches, Maseratis, and others.
The indictment alleges that Hull would promise leaseholders he would be able to find a “credit-qualified buyer to legally assume the lease through the original finance company.” He instead put the vehicles for rent “and passed little of the rent money onto the original leaseholders.”
According to court documents, Hull used a longtime “business associate” to vouch for the quality of the program. When Hull started to ignore the victims’ requests for the return of their vehicles, leaseholders made stolen car reports to law enforcement agencies.
Those who did manage to get their cars back found them often damaged, with incurred toll and parking violations, and driven over the allotted mileage. Whenever Hull’s customers posted negative reviews about his company on the internet, he would allegedly “change his company name and resume the scheme.”
Hull maintained offices on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and the company names he allegedly used for the scheme included Exotic Lease Transfer, Luxe Lease Transfer, Shift Lease, Veer Lease, Torque Transfer, Haven Transfer, Early Lease, and Open Lease Transfer.
Hull himself allegedly used a series of aliases throughout the scheme. “Geoff Eldredge,” “Geoff Eldridge,” “Jefrii Eldridge,” “Geoffrey Hulle,” “Jeff Bluthenthal,” and “Jeff H,” are the names he used.
The investigation identified “approximately 115 victims from around the nation.” Hull could face a statutory maximum sentence of 120 years in federal prison if convicted of the indictment’s six counts of wire fraud.
Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn Small of the Major Frauds Section and Agustin D. Orozco of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section are prosecuting the case. Since investigators believe there may still be unidentified victims, anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call the Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line at 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423).