HOLLYWOOD—Geoffrey Eldridge Hull, 40, faced federal charges on Thursday, July 9 for his involvement in conning victims across the nation into giving him their high-end and exotic vehicles with false promises that he would find other people to take over their leases. Hull operated luxury automobile offices called Lease Haven on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood located at 6015 West Sunset Blvd. He has three prior convictions for grand theft auto.
The defendant was arrested pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment that charged him with six counts of wire fraud related to his “lease consignment” program.
According to court documents, Hull marketed himself as well as the various companies that he operated, as having the ability to find people to take over luxury automobile leases from individuals who wanted out of the leases on Bentleys, Ferraris, Porsches, Maseratis and other high-end automobiles.
The defendant agreed to cover monthly lease payments and promised leaseholders that he would find a “credit-qualified buyer to legally assume the lease through the original finance company.” Hull used a longtime friend as a pawn and business associate to vouch for the quality of the program to unsuspecting victims.
He and his companies did not match any individual to take over the surrendered leases by victim clients. The defendant offered the surrendered luxury cars for rent and passed little of the rent money onto the original leaseholders who were still responsible for lease payments. Hull regularly ignored victims’ requests for the return of their vehicles.
According to the Better Business Bureau, 2 complaints were documented online in the last 3 years. Of those, 0 complaints were closed in last 12 months. According to the Lease Haven webpage, the process includes:
“Haven taking physical possession of your vehicle and makes your monthly payment until finding a qualified applicant to assume your lease. We believe that by giving your car a platform in the car capital of the world — Los Angeles — we give it the level of exposure it needs to find the right applicant who can actually get approved on your high-end car. Best of all, we’re bound to the terms of the agreement until either the lease is transferred or the lease expires.”
Victims made stolen car reports to law enforcement agencies when Hull cut off communication with them. When select victims’ cars were returned after law enforcement seizures, the cars were often damaged, incurred toll and parking violations, and had been driven over the allotted mileage.
According to a criminal complaint previously filed in the case, customers as well as local and federal law enforcement repeatedly told Hull his business was fraudulent. He was sued civilly several times for fraud and intentional misrepresentation before being charged in federal court.
When victims posted negative reviews online about Hull and his company, Hull would change his company name and resume the scheme. The company names Hull used to operate included:
- Exotic Lease Transfer
- Luxe Lease Transfer
- Shift Lease
- Veer Lease
- Torque Transfer
- Haven Transfer
- Early Lease
- Open Lease Transfer.
A review left by a victim of ‘Haven Transfer’ on May 15, 2019 per the Better Business Bureau stated that:
“[Hull] has had my Bentley for the last 8 months and is not making the payments as per the contract. Haven transfer took my Bentley in September of 2018. [Hull] was supposed to make the payments while he found someone to buy the car. Instead, he stole the car and has not made payments. He is renting the car out and will not answer my calls or emails. I have been forced to make the payments every month for a car that is stolen while someone else drives it.”
“Haven is in breach of contract in regards to returning my 2017 Maserati Levante to me. They have failed to answer my phone calls and emails. I entered into contract with Haven in August 2017. The contact was to transport my 2017 Maserati Levante from SC to CA and to find a new leader. Haven would be responsible to make the monthly payment in a timely manner until a new leaser was found. Haven made no payments. Trying to contact Haven concerning this matter was beyond difficult as my emails and phone calls went unanswered. I decided to end my contract with them and followed the exact steps stated in the contract to end it. I sent two certified letters requesting to be released from the contract in addition to several emails and phone calls. On December 14, I received an email stating my vehicle was being transported back to me in SC, via Nationwide Transport, and I would receive it no later than 14 days past the date of December 15. On December 17, at 11:15am, I received a phone call from the director at Nationwide Transport stating that my vehicle was en route to my home in SC, and I would receive it December 26. When I did not receive it on December 26, he apologized and stated the driver had spent the holidays with his family in New Mexico and my vehicle was again en route. On Monday, January 14 at 9:30am, I placed another call to Nationwide Transfer. I was told that my vehicle had been returned to Haven in Los Angeles, CA! I have sent numerous emails and placed several phone calls. I have heard nothing from Haven. At this point, they have no legal rights to the ownership of my vehicle, and are in full breach of contract.”
Investigators identified approximately 115 victims from around the United States that have been tricked into leasing their vehicles. The estimated losses in this case exceed $1 million. Investigators believe there are still unidentified victims.
If convicted of the six counts of wire fraud alleged in the indictment, Hull will face a statutory maximum sentence of 120 years in federal prison.
Anyone with information about this matter is asked to call the Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line at 866-347-2423.