A White Plains finance company has lost track of several cars destined for export and lost track of a criminal who borrowed $4.7 million to buy the cars.
Westchester Export Capital sued Timeless Auto Group, a Wisconsin company managed by Albert “Alex” Golant, in federal court in White Plains.
On May 4, the complaint states, Timeless failed to make an $85,250 payment on 51 cars. Westchester Export Capital then learned that Golant had gone missing several weeks before and that Golant is a self-professed addicted gambler who owes $1.5 million to loan sharks.
This was not Golant’s first experience with missing cars, illegal gambling or unsavory characters.
Golant was born in Belarus, came to the U.S. when he was 9 years old, became a legal resident in Wisconsin and got into the business of brokering cars for clients who shipped them overseas.
From 2011 to 2012, according to court documents, Golant and a partner stole $3 million from 14 people. Clients placed orders for cars but Golant and his partner did not buy them. After they received payments, according to court documents, they gambled the money away at casinos in Illinois and Las Vegas.
Golant was arrested in 2012 and charged with wire fraud. He pleaded guilty in 2013, but the government kept postponing his sentencing as he was offering to help the FBI on other investigations.
In 2015, he formally agreed to help the government in a racketeering case against two Russian mobsters, Michael “Fat Mike” Danilovich and Mikhail “Russian Mike” Zemlyansky.
Golant had played at several illegal poker games run by Danilovich and owed him millions of dollars. Danilovich offered to invest in Golant’s car business, the government stated, to help pay off his debts, and he set Golant up in an illegal sportsbook.
Danilovich was making millions of dollars defrauding car insurance companies by operating medical clinics that provided bogus medical treatments under New York’s no-fault car insurance law. He and Zemlyansky sent illegal profits to construction companies and car companies in Ukraine. The companies took a percentage and then sent the rest back to Danilovich, in effect laundering the money.
Golant testified for two days in Danilovich’s 2015 trial. Danilovich was convicted of racketeering, securities fraud, health care fraud, mail fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Golant helped the government in the Zemlyansky case but did not testify. Zemlyansky was convicted of racketeering and other charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The government had agreed to ask the court for a light sentence in Golant’s criminal case, for his cooperation against the Russians.
As of January 2016, Golant’s attorney told the court, he had repaid $954,000 of the $3 million he owed in his car brokering scam.
His lawyer asked the court to give Golant a second chance.
“Mr. Golant has made strides in his professional life so as not to put himself in the position of taking business money for his own gain and use,” the attorney wrote in a letter to federal judge Deborah A. Batts. “This has allowed him to streamline his business practices and to keep them true to ethical standards.”
One of Golant’s victims, Leon Krentsel, wrote to a previous judge in the case that Golant should be given a lengthy prison term.
“If Golant receives a lenient sentence, it will be perceived as, perhaps, his best gamble yet. Take a couple million dollars for a couple of years in a federal prison and then disappear from the United States, leaving numerous victims behind.”
On Jan. 27, 2016, Golant was sentenced to time served, for wire fraud and operating an illegal gambling business, and to three years of supervised release.
Last fall, Westchester Export agreed to advance Timeless Auto Group up to $5 million to buy vehicles for export. The deal was signed by Timeless’ president, Tedmund Wayne Blankschein, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit.
Westchester Export advanced $4.8 million. After Timeless defaulted on the deal on May 4, it tried to locate the 51 vehicles it had bought. Some were being stored at a warehouse in Industry, California under the names of entities not associated with Timeless. Some of the vehicles were missing.
Westchester Export sued for breach of contract and conversion. It is asking the court to give it the right to immediately repossess the vehicles.