Case Closed: Here is What Happened to Charred Tesla on Frozen Lake

© AP Photo / Britta Pedersen In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany
 In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.09.2021
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The story generated massive interest from social media users when it was reported back in 2019. Netizens scratched their heads over the incident and offered various explanations - from a malfunction in the electric battery to attempts to sabotage Tesla. The true cause turned out to be quite simple.
The mystery of a charred Tesla Model X on a frozen lake in Vermont has been solved, US media reported. According to the District of Vermont Attorney’s Office, the owner of the vehicle, which claimed that it combusted after striking a rock, was attempting to pull off an insurance fraud scheme.
Court documents posted on the Attorney’s Office website reveal that Michael A. Gonzalez stole five Tesla vehicles worth $607,000 between September 2018 and this year. Here is how he managed to do it.

How to Buy Tesla for Just $2,500 (Don’t Try This)

Unlike other car brands, Tesla doesn’t use dealerships to sell their vehicles and instead promotes online sales. To purchase a Tesla, one has to put a down payment of $2,500 and then provide bank account details for a wire or Automated Clearing House transfer.
The company then either delivers the car to the buyer or he or she can pick it at a store. In addition Tesla provides individuals with a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin so that they can register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Gonzalez noticed that one is able to pick a car before making full payment to the company. In this fashion he “bought” himself five vehicles, making initial payments of $2,500 and then arranging for electronic funds transfers to cover the balance of the vehicles’ prices from accounts with insufficient funds or from fictitious accounts.

Three of five cars were sold to used car dealerships, with Gonzales getting thousands of dollars. The fourth vehicle was repossessed for failure of payment and the fifth, the charred one, was used for an insurance fraud scheme.

It is unclear what the hapless criminal was hoping for when he came up with the plot, because he failed to register the car (Model X, the most expensive in the company’s lineup) under his name. So when he filed a claim for his losses with GEICO, the latter denied it.

According to court documents, Gonzalez has been indicted on five counts for the sale and possession of stolen motor vehicles. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years imprisonment on each count.
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