Racketeering charges filed against Bethel Park man, family members
Authorities in Washington County filed racketeering charges on Thursday against a Bethel Park man and his family, alleging they used a Canonsburg car dealership to get fraudulent loans and default on cars one family member purchased.
According to state police, Frank LoCastro, 57, of Peters, purchased 16 vehicles from dealerships in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Illinois between 2008 and 2009, financing more than $500,000 through 13 financial institutions.
Police said the title on some of the vehicles was transferred to the now-closed All Pro Auto Mall in Canonsburg, the business of his brother, Vincent LoCastro of Bethel Park, using forms notarized by All Pro employee Dennis Logue or Vince LoCastro's son, Joseph LoCastro. Frank LoCastro would default on the loans after a few payments, but most of the cars could not be found for repossession, police reported in an affidavit supporting the charges.
Vince LoCastro, 48; Frank LoCastro; Joseph LoCastro, 26; and Joseph's wife, Nicole LoCastro, 21, all face charges of participating or conspiring in a corrupt organization -- known as Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, charges. They also face charges of theft and defrauding secured creditors.
Members of the LoCastro family could not be reached for comment. They did not appear for arraignment yesterday, and a warrant would likely be issued for their arrests, Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said.
"We're using the RICO statute because of the scope of this case," he said.
In all of the cases, Frank LoCastro would state on credit applications that he worked for LoCastro and Associates or Met PA Racing, making more than $100,000 a year. He would then purchase one or more vehicles and would make several payments -- often from accounts associated with LoCastro Associates, Vincent LoCastro, Joseph LoCastro or Nicole LoCastro -- before eventually defaulting on the loans, police said.
Only a few of the vehicles were repossessed, and in one deposition with bank investigators, Vince LoCastro said "the other vehicles were in the hands of drug dealers, and he could not recover them," the affidavit said.
Vittone said the cars that were not recovered were likely resold by All Pro Auto Mall. The transferred titles were altered to not show the banks' liens on the vehicles.
Vince LoCastro was on probation for state and federal charges, Vittone said, including insurance fraud and identity theft. All Pro Auto Mall accumulated a long trail of negative reviews online for selling vehicles "as-is" that quickly broke down or were in worse shape than advertised.