UPDATE 12/7/23 4:55 p.m.: The owner of a now-closed car dealership appeared in court for a second time in less than three weeks. Sama Moore is facing additional fraud and theft charges in connection with her former Columbus business Sports and Imports.
The 59-year-old Moore pleaded not guilty to 53 felony charges. Police say there are 29 victims going back to 2016. Police began investigating allegations of wrongdoing back in September.
The police department’s Property Crimes Unit received multiple reports from people claiming fraudulent activities.
Police conducted a search of the business on October 1st. Moore was not charged until mid-November. Police say the total theft at that time was more than 800-thousand dollars.
What started as three potential victims has grown over more than two months of investigation.
The total loss is now believed to be over a million dollars. WRBL spoke with Columbus Police Sergeant Jane Edenfield on the magnitude of the case
“Kind of puts it in perspective. I’ve worked a lot of large cases. But to have something this large with this many victims, this much money, cause, you know, the complexity of the schemes and the variety of the schemes, it’s just it’s a lot to juggle. And, you know, I have I have not had anything I’ve been doing. I’ve been here 17 years. I’ve been doing for all it off and on for ten. And this is by far the biggest that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Sergeant Edenfield.
Moore is currently being held without bond. The case was bound over to Superior Court.
UPDATE 12/4/23 4:15 p.m.: The Columbus Police Department has provided another update on the Sports and Imports fraud investigation from mid-November.
According to CPD, additional victims have come forward following Sama Moore’s arrest and court hearing. A total of 15 additional felony warrants were issued. Police say the reportable loss is now at $1,108,722.95.
Moore’s recorder’s court hearing is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. WRBL will keep you updated.
UPDATE 5:10 p.m. – CPD told WRBL that on Friday, Sama Moore was extradited to Columbus and is being held at the Muscogee County Jail.
CPD says that her preliminary hearing in Recorder’s Court is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.
UPDATE 4:54 p.m. – The Columbus Police Department has released additional details regarding the arrest made after a fraud investigation of Sports and Imports.
According to CPD, in Spring, CPD’s Property Crimes Unit received multiple reports from people claiming that fraudulent activities were happening at Sports and Imports.
CPD said what started as a handful of victims has escalated into 21 total reports of fraud.
CPD investigators initially started collecting information from victims and banking institutions. During a search of the business in October, the property crimes unit found significant evident including financial records and witness statements; which reveal a total loss of $819,052.77.
CPD says the amount does not include the number of vehicles that were mistitled with several loans on them. Lead Columbus Police investigator Sgt. Jane Edenfield alleges what happened.
“The business itself is a consignment business, but they do vehicles and you know, we’re used to clothes, but this is with vehicles. So, people take their cars there to be sold with the assistance of Sports and Imports. So, sometimes the cars were sold without final permission from the owners. Sometimes with final permission,” Edenfield said.
“However, the money that was received for the selling of the car never made it back to that original owner. Signatures were forged, bank accounts were opened, checks were bounced. It’s a variety of issues.”
CPD later obtained warrants for 59-year-old Sama Moore and on Thursday, CPD with help from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Lee County Sheriff’s took Moore into custody. Moore is now charged with the following:
- Five counts of identity fraud
- Nine counts of felony theft by conversion
- Eight counts of felony theft by taking
- Four counts of theft by deception
- Four counts of deposit account fraud
- Eight counts of first-degree forgery
As of now, Moore is being held at the Lee County Jail awaiting extradition. Edenfield says the investigation is still ongoing and that she does rule out more potential victims stepping due to the increasing publicity associated with the case.
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The owner of a now-closed Columbus car dealership is in the custody of Lee County, Ala., authorities facing fraud charges stemming from the sale of automobiles in Georgia.
Sama Duff Moore, 59, was arrested Thursday by U.S. Marshals in Alabama. She is being held in the Lee County Detention Center as a fugitive from justice.
The exact charges in Georgia have not been released. She is awaiting extradition.
Columbus police executed a search warrant on Sports and Imports, the business she owned, at the intersection of 11th Street and Veterans Parkway on Oct. 2.
Multiple officers were on the property, which appeared to be a functioning car dealership and repair shop at the time. A woman at the business’ office was asked what was happening. She told a reporter the police were “looking for a stolen car.”
An officer on the scene said the police were carrying out a search warrant for the CPD’s financial crimes unit.
The business has since closed its location at Veterans and 11th.