Woman Who Led Car-Theft Ring Convicted in NJ

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -

Federal prosecutors say a New York City woman who led a group that shipped dozens of stolen and carjacked luxury vehicles to Africa has been convicted in New Jersey on numerous charges.

Hope Kantete, a 43-year-old Brooklyn resident, faces up to 15 years in prison when she’s sentenced Oct. 3.

Prosecutors say Kantete, known as “the Lady,” employed people who bought stolen and carjacked vehicles from thieves operating in northern Jersey and New York. She then had individuals “retag” the vehicles by placing new vehicle identification numbers on the autos and creating fraudulent title documents so the vehicles could be shipped.

After the documents were created, Kantete arranged to have the cars loaded onto shipping containers and sent to ports in West Africa, where they could be re-sold for at least twice their retail value in the United States.

The vehicles taken included Mercedes, Porsches, BMWs, Audis and Land Rovers, as well as Acuras, Lexuses, Toyotas and Hondas.