Ocala, Florida — On February 24, 2014, Joseph Alvarez, 23, was arrested after a witness reported seeing him on the property of Tanos Auto Sales breaking out car windows.
Alvarez admitted to breaking out several windows in vehicles belonging to Tanos Auto Sales. Alvarez said he did it because the owner of Tanos Auto Sales, Ismail Osman, repossessed a vehicle [he] had purchased from the business. Osman claimed he repossessed the 2005 Crown Victoria two weeks after Alvarez purchased it for the reason of “unpaid taxes.”
Alvarez said that Osman did not legally own the vehicle that [he] had purchased. “I have never been fu**ed before so I thought I wouldn’t let him f**k anyone else,” said Alvarez.
Alvarez’ fiancé, Annmarie Giraldo, said, “I called the sheriff’s office before Joseph broke any windows. I told them what had happened and that Joseph was really upset over the entire incident.”
“I was told by the sheriff’s office that this is a civil matter and they could not help me,” Giraldo said.
Giraldo went on to say, “It wasn’t until I hung up the phone that Joseph decided that the way to get the police to respond was to break the windows of the cars. Joseph refused to let anyone else get ripped off.”
Giraldo said they paid cash for the vehicle, it was not a “buy here pay here” deal.
On February 24, 2014, Ismail’s son, Hassan Osman “hotwired” the 2005 Crown Victoria in order to remove it from Alvarez’ property because Hassan did not have keys to the vehicle.
After discovering the vehicle was missing from their property, Giraldo said she called Ismail and was told she would have to speak with his son, Hassan, who was not available. During the conversation, Giraldo said that Ismail became rude and called her “white trash.”
Alvarez and Giraldo then drove to Tanos Auto sales just to find the business closed.
Following Alvarez’ arrest, Marion County Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Tingue began investigating the case after Alvarez explained exactly what had transpired in regards to the purchase of the 2005 Crown Victoria.
Detective Tingue informed the DMV of the situation.
On March 4, 2014, Detective Tingue, along with Joseph Alvarez, Annmarie Giraldo and DMV supervisors Barbara Benjamen and Sharon Sturdevant met at the Sheriff’s Office South Multi-district office to discuss the investigation.
The following is Alvarez’ account of what happened:
Alvarez stated that he purchased the 2005 Crown Victoria after seeing a listing on Craigslist. After calling the number on Craigslist and making contact with Hassan, they agreed to meet at the Sweetbay Supermarket in Belleview, Florida for a test drive.
On February 6, 2014, Alvarez said that he and Hassan met at the Sweetbay and after test driving the vehicle, he followed Hassan to Tanos Auto Sales on South Highway 441.
After pulling into the parking lot, Alvarez said he confronted Hassan and stated, “I thought I was purchasing the vehicle from you and not a car lot.” Hassan then told Alvarez that he owned the vehicle but the title was in the car lots name.
Alvarez agreed to pay $2,350 for the vehicle and gave a deposit of $200.00. Alvarez said he told Hassan and Ismail that he would return on February 10, 2014, with the remainder of the money after he received his tax refund.
On February 10, 2014, Alvarez and his fiancé, Annmarie Giraldo, returned to Tanos Auto Sales to complete the transaction. Alvarez stated that during the transaction Hassan and Ismail were discussing taxes and transfer fees, at which time Alvarez told both Hassan and Ismail he would complete the transfer paper work on his own. Ismail then told Alvarez that he could not take the title to the DMV because he (Ismail) would lose his license to sell cars. Alvarez then asked, “If the vehicle belongs to Hassan why does the paperwork need to be completed by the car lot?” Alvarez said he told them that he was not buying the vehicle from the car lot, he was purchasing it from Hassan.
Alvarez said that the transaction was then completed and Ismail handed him the title and keys to the vehicle and he and his fiancé left.
Upon hearing the information provided by Alvarez, Benjamen and Sturdevant conducted a title history search on said vehicle. It was learned that Ismail Osman went to the DMV on February 18, 2014, and applied for a duplicate title, he claimed the original had been lost or stolen. Shortly after Ismail received a duplicate title, one the same date, the vehicle was transferred into Hassan’s name.
Detective Tingue also learned that on February 24, 2014, the day of the incident, Hassan phoned the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center and advised that he had repossessed the 2005 Crown Victoria. Upon being asked by dispatch if he worked for a repossession company, he said he did not. Hassan told dispatch that he was repossessing the vehicle for himself because Alvarez did not make his payments. Hassan told dispatch that he sold the vehicle to Alvarez for $2,350 but Alvarez had only given him $200 toward the vehicle.
During a recorded phone interview, Hassan told Detective Tingue that he had only received $200.00 from Alvarez as a deposit, but never received the remainder of the money. Hassan stated he repossessed the vehicle because the balance was not paid. Hassan also stated that he was the “owner” of the vehicle and not the “lien holder.”
According to Giraldo, Hassan and Ismail told detectives that Alvarez stole the title of the vehicle from Tanos Auto Sales.
However, a local business owner and eyewitness told Detective Tingue that Ismail carries a black briefcase containing all vehicle titles and that he never goes anywhere without it. The eyewitness stated that Ismail would have never handed over collateral prior to having the money in his hands. The eyewitness also told Detective Tingue that on February 10, 2014, he overheard a conversation between Hassan and Ismail which indicated that the title was handed over to Alvarez, and not stolen by him.
Detective Tingue made contact with Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson and presented all the evidence he gathered.
On March 13, 2014, Ismail Osman, 52, was arrested and now faces a felony charge of False Statement in Title Transfer. Hassan Osman, 27, faces a charge of Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle.
The 2005 Crown Victoria was impounded.
Ismail has previous arrests for Driver’s License Fraud, Criminal Mischief, Domestic Aggravated Assault, Domestic Battery, Battery, and Simple Assault.
Joseph Alvarez does not have any prior arrests.
“Had law enforcement not blown us off when we called this would not have happened,” Giraldo said. “Detective Tingue has been great during the investigation…if it were not for him listening to Joseph, the truth would not have come out and Ismail and Hassan would be free to commit more crimes. Who knows how many other people they have done this too.”
She went on to say, “Joseph is a really nice guy…he may not look like it on the first appearance..but he really is. He wanted to be in law enforcement and now he is afraid that will never happen because of this situation. All he wanted to do is to keep other innocent people from being ripped off.”
Giraldo said they have lost about $2,400, which includes repairs done to the vehicle. She said it is not certain if the vehicle will be returned to them or not, she said she was told it will be up to the judge.
“We are hoping that the judge will understand the situation and see what actually has taken place…Maybe the charges will be dropped. We are not asking for special treatment, but this is an entirely different situation”, Said Giraldo. “I also hope that Hassan and Ismail get more charges than what they have against them.”
An unnamed source told Ocala Post that both Hassan and Ismail may be involved in a chop shop operation right here in Ocala.
Both Hassan and Ismail claim they are innocent and feel they did not break any laws.