Emmanuel Amaral, 42, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, following...

Emmanuel Amaral, 42, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, following his arrest late last year on four other cases in which he also scammed car buyers out of their money, police said. (Feb. 15, 2012) Credit: SCPD

A Smithtown man sold a 2006 Ford van for $4,800 but never delivered the car to the buyer, Suffolk police said.

Emmanuel Amaral, 42, was charged Wednesday with third-degree grand larceny, following his arrest late last year on four other cases in which he also scammed car buyers out of their money, police said.

He would befriend people, including at various youth sports activities that he sometimes coached, and tell potential victims that he came across great deals as a used car salesman, said Fourth Precinct Det. Sgt. Frank Catalina. " 'I have one right now, as a matter of fact' is the line he gives them," the detective said.

Amaral said he operates out of Jake's Towing and Recovery in Ronkonkoma, but it's not clear if he's the owner, police said.

"We don't know that he even has the cars," Catalina said. "He claims to have the cars, although we haven't had anyone who's seen the vehicles.

"He takes a deposit for the vehicle and tells them that there's still paperwork issues he has to work out and as soon as he's able to deliver the vehicle, he'll get back in touch with them, which never happens."

In each of the five cases, buyers gave Amaral at least $3,000, Catalina said: "Most of the time, it's one of those things where it seems the deal is too good to be true. He's asking for half of what the book value would be."

Amaral, of 15 Mill Dam Rd., is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip. He could not be reached for comment, and no one answered the phone at the towing company.

Detectives believe there may be more victims and ask anyone with information to call 631-854-8452 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

"A lot of people don't report it, because they believe it's civil in nature," Catalina said. "It starts as a civil agreement between the two of them to do a vehicle purchase. But at some point, when he doesn't deliver a car or refuses to give back the money, it becomes a grand larceny."

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