(KMOV) -- Twenty-one people were indicted after investigators say they had a huge multi-state theft scheme going, defrauding banks, car dealers and even average Joes.
"The individuals behind this ring were very smart, they've operated for a long time,” US Attorney Richard Callahan said.
"Money, in the end, it's all about money,” he said.
Callahan told News 4 the alleged thieves were like miners at a gold mine.
“Every which way there was to extract money out of the automobile industry, they were exploring,” said Callahan.
The indictment names 21 defendants, claiming they set up fake businesses throughout the area and then used fraud or deception in how they obtained, titled or sold at least 126 different cars.
The plots targeted high-end or in-demand cars, but not every scheme was exactly the same.
The indictment says sometimes the defendants would buy cars with fake financial documents, often from well-known car dealers around town.
Sometimes, attorneys say, they'd outright steal the cars, usually from out-of-state.
Then, they'd get fake titles and re-sell the vehicles.
In some cases they even faked accidents or repair claims, Callahan said to defraud insurance companies.
"In the end, we all are harmed by it,” Callahan said.
Callahan says you should be aware of similar schemes.
"What is the lesson here for someone who is thinking about buying a car, has concerns about buying a car?” asked News 4 Reporter Lauren Trager.
“Well you have to know how you are dealing with and you want to do a title search on the car and check the title,” Callahan said.
If convicted, some of the suspects could get 30 years for each charge and face millions in fines.