Westchester Export Capital has won a default judgment against former client and car broker Albert “Alex” Golant, and that should come as no surprise to anyone.
Golant borrowed $4.7 million from the White Plains company to buy 54 cars for export. Then he, and many of the cars, went missing.
One can surmise several reasons why Golant would not answer the lawsuit that Westchester Export Capital filed in federal court last May.
He had been caught previously for stealing $3 million in a car brokering swindle. He was on supervised release for his 2016 conviction for wire fraud and operating an illegal gambling business. He is a self-professed addicted gambler who owed $1.5 million to loan sharks.
And then there was his two days of testimony in 2015 against Russian mobster Michael “Fat Mike” Danilovich and his cooperation with the FBI against Mikhail “Russian Mike” Zemlyansky. Danilovich was sentenced to 25 years in prison for racketeering, securities fraud, money laundering and other crimes. Zemlyansky got 15 years for racketeering and other crimes.
Golant was born in Belarus and moved to Wisconsin at age 9. He gravitated to the car brokering business, according to court records, and to high stakes gambling.
Westchester Export agreed in 2016 to advance up to $5 million to Timeless Auto Group to buy cars for export. Golant was manager of the Wisconsin company and Tedmund Wayne Blankschein was president.
Last May, Timeless Auto Group failed to make a $85,250 payment. Golant was gone and so were the cars, though some were traced to a warehouse in Industry, California.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel ordered Golant and Blankschein to appear for a hearing on Feb. 21 to explain why a default judgment should not be entered against them for not answering Westchester Export Capital’s complaint.
They did not appear. Seibel entered the judgment and ordered that an inquest be held to determine the damages.
The car brokering mess has also entangled at least one third party. Shady W. Fares of Oak Creek, Wisconsin bought a 2017 Mercedes-Benz sport utility truck last April, according to a letter he sent to Seibel, with the intention of selling it to Golant for a $4,000 profit within 45 days.
He did so, he said, on the recommendations of several people who had dealt with Golant, including managers at the Mercedes dealership.
Fares financed the purchase with a loan from Ally Bank, and he allowed a Golant associate, “Frank,” to pick up the car and store it. There was no risk, he said he was told, because the car was registered to him and there would be no clear title until he paid off the bank loan.
“This was a verbal agreement,” Fares said. There was no contract or paperwork.
When Golant disappeared, Fares used the car’s tracking feature to trace it to China United Transport in Walnut, California. He was unable to take the car because of the lawsuit, and he has had to continue making monthly payments on the loan.