Today, State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced a settlement agreement with defendants accused of fraudulently using a cancer charity’s tax exempt status to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of luxury cars without paying sales tax. The defendants exported the vehicles across Europe, Asia, and North America.

The State of New Jersey alleges that Patrick Caffrey, of Keansburg, was the president of Matawan-based Tri County Charity Center, which conspired with Carl Monto and his wife Denise Monto, of Beachwood, and with ‘I Buy Cars For You, LLC,’ to purchase cars in the name of the charity.

Using false identities and fraudulent driver’s licenses, Carl Monto allegedly purchased dozens of vehicles on behalf of Tri County, misusing the charity’s 501(c)(3) status to evade paying sales tax, with Caffrey’s knowledge and approval. In exchange, Caffrey donated a mere $100 per vehicle to Tri County.

"The defendants allegedly created an elaborate ruse, abusing the 501(c)(3) status of a purported charity in order to buy and export millions of dollars' worth of luxury vehicles," says Chiesa. “What is particularly galling is that, as alleged in our lawsuit, the defendants claimed to be raising money for cancer patients.  Our settlement agreement fulfills that promise by requiring donations for a medical treatment and research center.”

Tri County allegedly purchased a total of 71 luxury and other motor vehicles from 2009 through 2011, a total expenditure of more than $2.3 million, without paying sales tax. The organization then quickly exported many of the vehicles to destinations including Canada, China, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, South Korea, and Sweden.

The State this week received $25,000 in certified checks from the defendants, toward a total required payment of $65,000.  The defendants have also agreed to pay $18,000 to the NYU Langone Medical Center – a concession the State demanded due to the charity’s claims that it would “supply needed funds to families or individuals battling cancer.”