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  #1  
Old January 17th, 2018, 03:54 AM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Fraud (?)

Good morning all - this is Clive writing from Prague - I'm an American living over here.

Like many, I've been diligently searching for a 25 year old Defender that I can eventually ship to the US.

I have some detailed information about what appears to be a broad scam taking place by a person on facebook (and elsewhere) - not just with Defenders, but all kinds of collectible cars.

I wrote up the entire sequence of events, with links, but the forum won't let me post links given my relatively new status... if the moderator will allow the links, I'd be happy (relieved!) to share.

I'd also be happy to send it to the admin for pre-approval before posting.

Many thanks,
Clive
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  #2  
Old January 17th, 2018, 04:39 AM
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David Frank
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Any member will post for you if you are just doing your best to help the community. Oddly, I'm up ( not really) ;-) Pm'd.
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  #3  
Old January 17th, 2018, 04:54 AM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D90Overkill View Post
Any member will post for you if you are just doing your best to help the community. Oddly, I'm up ( not really) ;-) Pm'd.
Done!
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  #4  
Old January 17th, 2018, 05:02 AM
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David Frank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragueprado

Here’s what I’ve got for now; hopefully clear; as I mentioned, in the meantime I’ve found info in the Italian media about this guy and his dad being in trouble with the police over various car issues. “

Good morning everyone - my first post here; I'm an American living in Prague. I've been looking (as many others) for some time for the right 25 year old (or close to it) Defender to pick up over here in Europe, perhaps use for a while before shipping back to the US. I've built up a list of bookmarks of the various "Craigslist"-like search sites, dealerships, etc.

Last week, I ended up on the facebook site of a person whose name is supposedly Gian Luca Gregis. I searched here on the forums but it doesn't appear that his name has come up here... yet. I have now been blocked by this guy on Facebook (you'll see why in a moment); I thought he had been totally removed from Facebook, overnight, but my sons (who are much more versed in these things than me) said no, he blocked you - that's why I can no longer see any of his facebook pages or posts (and there are a lot of them).

If you go into facebook and search his name, you'll find him. Or search on facebook for defendershop4x4.com - there is also a website by that name that I can see is still operational.

Anyway, to the point: he uses his facebook page (or one of them, anyway) to sell Defenders to Americans. I got into a Messenger conversation with him about an '88 4-door 110, but I decided to think about it for a while (despite his insistence that I should, "Buy now! It's going to go!"). I then noticed that several of the Defenders that he was posting on his facebook page seemed rather familiar... For example, there's this one:



https://www.autoscout24.it/annunci/land-rover-defender-defender-90-2-5-tdi-evocation-88-series-soft-top-diesel-verde-89f4a462-c6bd-d664-e053-e350040a2dd5?cldtidx=7


which is actually for sale by a legitimate dealership in Bergamo (Italy) for 22,500 euro.

They've also put it on Hemmings in the US,

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds...0/2028471.html,

for $35,000 including delivery. This is just one example of this person pilfering the photos of cars and acting as if he has them for sale. As soon as I started posting this info as comments under his facebook postings in this private group, he banned me - as in, within 60 seconds - so I'm pretty sure that no one else on the site saw what I posted. And as I stated above, he's now blocked me so I can't see anything that he's doing on facebook. One thing he can't block me from, though, is his actual website,

defendershop4x4.com, where I can see he still has these "not-his" cars for sale (including the one I identified above).

Just as another example, this one on his website,

1988 LAND ROVER 90 HT LHD (and was on the facebook group page), is also on autoscout24,



https://www.autoscout24.it/annunci/land-rover-defender-diesel-rosso-e2d2ce62-dd77-7325-e053-e350040a6fe3?cldtidx=4
.

The same is true for many, if not all, of the cars he has on that site. Just to reiterate, these cars are all over Italy and Spain - he doesn't own them. That might be the end of my cautionary tale, except that a google search of the guy's name shows that he (or someone using this name) has a sketchy past altogether, not just with Defenders, but any collectible car.



https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1234035


shows a bunch of guys discussing Gregis at pistonheads over some issue with TVRs. And finally, a "whois" search of who owns defendershop4x4.com shows that it is owned by a "Piergiuseppe Gregis", but that the main IP address for this site "is associated with more than 100 domains" (!!!!). The indication here is that this guy is running a large operation of giving the impression of owning and selling all kinds of collectible cars which in fact he doesn't possess.

At the end of all this, I can't actually say if he's doing anything other than eventually acting as a middle man. Maybe people who deal with him do actually get a car in the end. But I can't comprehend how he would really be able to run this business - how to answer detailed questions (or provide photos) about cars that aren't in his possession? How to follow through on all details required for such a purchase? And it certainly doesn't look good that by simply pointing out that he doesn't seem to have the cars, he's blocked me on facebook....

Anyway, there's my first post on defendersource - hope it's of use to someone.

Thanks, Clive”
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  #5  
Old January 17th, 2018, 07:06 AM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Many thanks - I understand that many defendersource members already have their favorite sources/exporters, and would never go near this guy - but hopefully the above info will prevent newer members from going down an unknown road with Mr whateverhisnameis.
Clive
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  #6  
Old January 17th, 2018, 08:05 AM
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Bill Adams
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Thanks Clive! I almost went to work in Prague two years ago...it was very close! One of our entities Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has a pretty big office there and I was going to go help build a Virtual Reality studio. I am actually doing that here in DC so I dodged that one!
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  #7  
Old January 17th, 2018, 08:12 AM
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But that the main IP address for this site "is associated with more than 100 domains" (!!!!).

Absolutely nothing unusual about that ... many websites sit on the same server.
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  #8  
Old January 17th, 2018, 08:33 AM
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Clive Watkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
Thanks Clive! I almost went to work in Prague two years ago...it was very close! One of our entities Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has a pretty big office there and I was going to go help build a Virtual Reality studio. I am actually doing that here in DC so I dodged that one!
Small world! I work at a school with many of the children of RFE journalists.

------ Follow up post added January 17th, 2018 07:34 AM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by leastonce View Post
But that the main IP address for this site "is associated with more than 100 domains" (!!!!).

Absolutely nothing unusual about that ... many websites sit on the same server.
Ah - I stand corrected then - I thought that perhaps this was coming from one person's computer. Live and learn, thanks.
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  #9  
Old January 17th, 2018, 08:36 AM
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I visited Prague in the late 70's early 1980s. What a great city. However surveillance was everywhere and the rear engined Skoda rental crapped out after 50 KM.....it was crap. And thats before you got to the swing axle handling....

Plenty of trustworthy people here on this board who can help you get a Rover that you can legally import to the US.
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  #10  
Old January 17th, 2018, 08:48 AM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
I visited Prague in the late 70's early 1980s. What a great city. However surveillance was everywhere and the rear engined Skoda rental crapped out after 50 KM.....it was crap. And thats before you got to the swing axle handling....

Plenty of trustworthy people here on this board who can help you get a Rover that you can legally import to the US.
It is an excellent city, and the people are great - I've been for about 8 years. Language is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I do at least speak other languages.

I certainly appreciate the offer for advice on the car importation! Completely off-topic, but now that I'm on the subject, it seems common over here on the 90s to jack them up 5cm or so... is that a no-no for customs in the US, or is it ok? I'm going with the assumption that as long as the car and motor are both at least 25 years old, then it should be fine, but I'm concerned that any mods (like raising the suspension) could raise flags.
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  #11  
Old January 17th, 2018, 10:22 AM
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Clive, thanks for the information.
Your best bet is to locate a vehicle, go see it, pay with cash, and drive it away.
In the past, many EU countries would let you temporarily register a newly purchased vehicle and insure it for a nominal fee.
Not sure what the current scenario is.
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  #12  
Old January 17th, 2018, 10:30 AM
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I just contacted this guy yesterday asking about vehicles for sale. Have not received a response yet.
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  #13  
Old January 17th, 2018, 10:42 AM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadil View Post
I just contacted this guy yesterday asking about vehicles for sale. Have not received a response yet.
There are lots of other articles out there about Gian Luca Gregis and his relationship to automobiles... It looks like he started going downhill in 2014-15 with something to do with automobile designs and who owned patents - but here's one from March of 2017 that says that he and his Dad (who is registered as the owner of the website I mentioned earlier) were had up for VIN swaps and various other crimes....

You'll need google translate if you don't speak Italian (let's see if I can post links now!):

Le truffe alla Motorizzazione: la Lamborghini taroccata viaggiava grazie agli errori di ortografia - Corriere.it
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  #14  
Old January 17th, 2018, 11:36 AM
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I just bought my Defender from this guy last year. Went relatively smooth, price was ok, and vehicle is about 80% of what he said it was. Would not buy from him again (even prior to this post), but have learned from my first experience and after joining the forum here learned how many great importers are here. I am titled and registered in PA, so for now things seem to be legit. Of course now I'll dig further into my vehicles past.
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  #15  
Old January 17th, 2018, 01:41 PM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WK2Burner View Post
I just bought my Defender from this guy last year. Went relatively smooth, price was ok, and vehicle is about 80% of what he said it was. Would not buy from him again (even prior to this post), but have learned from my first experience and after joining the forum here learned how many great importers are here. I am titled and registered in PA, so for now things seem to be legit. Of course now I'll dig further into my vehicles past.
Well, I am certainly glad to hear that you ended up getting the vehicle. And I have no problem with someone selling their services as an intermediary, verifying the vehicle and taking care of the hassles; he could, for instance, just post photos of cars that he sees for sale and say, "Here's one you might not have noticed - ready for export" or whatever.

Not sure why he feels the need to act like he owns these things and delete people for calling him on it... doesn't sound like a long term strategy.
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  #16  
Old January 17th, 2018, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragueprado View Post
Well, I am certainly glad to hear that you ended up getting the vehicle. And I have no problem with someone selling their services as an intermediary, verifying the vehicle and taking care of the hassles; he could, for instance, just post photos of cars that he sees for sale and say, "Here's one you might not have noticed - ready for export" or whatever.

Not sure why he feels the need to act like he owns these things and delete people for calling him on it... doesn't sound like a long term strategy.
Yeah, until this post I would have assumed he had the vehicles in his "huge Land Rover" shop . I got plenty of pics of, and what work he was planning on doing prior to sale. I Even got a decent short video of a walk around and engine. Sometimes communication was slow, but that can happen with anyone I guess.

Knowing what I know now, I would certainly use someone who's a member on this board, or at least someone recommended with references. I was naive and excited, and figured if this guy sells Supercars, so a defender should not be an issue. I did some research, but apparently not enough. I am just happy I came out with a decent vehicle for a decent price. I hate to have funded a shady operation, and hopefully those that lost anything get it back.
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  #17  
Old January 17th, 2018, 06:08 PM
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Joshua Varnadoe
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Fraud (?)

Thanks for the information. I looked online at some of Gregis’s defenders before I bought mine. I always thought it was a little weird that he almost never posts prices. You have to message him and ask. Luckily I live in Europe and was able to meet the previous owner of the Defender I bought in person before money was exchanged.


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  #18  
Old January 19th, 2018, 04:16 PM
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Here's another car he just listed.. its not really fraud, but it is cheaky and misleading.

Sent me a pm that he is asking 12900 euros..
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  #19  
Old January 21st, 2018, 03:58 AM
Pragueprado
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Clive Watkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest View Post
Here's another car he just listed.. its not really fraud, but it is cheaky and misleading.

Sent me a pm that he is asking 12900 euros..
That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about. I didn't get around to asking him for a price on cars I had seen listed elsewhere - I just started posting those cars and asking, "What's up?" - which got me deleted in 60 seconds.

Perhaps you should ask him if he actually has the car in his possession, or ask him for photos of the VIN plate, or something... see what he says. Having said that, he'll probably ban you.

One of the things I've found about facebook: in order to report a posting to the powers that be, you actually have to be able to see it, and if you're not able to see it (you've been banned from that page/group), you can't report it. So the person is free to continue conning new people.
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  #20  
Old January 21st, 2018, 07:17 AM
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