John III Phillips
Adult Nonfiction HV6695 .P483 2005
Summary: Nineteen-year-old security guards Robert Gomez and James Nichols played Americans' love for cars against their faith in God in one of the greatest frauds in U.S. history: The $21 Million "Miracle Cars" Scam. In the most astounding story of precocious criminal genius since CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, John Phillips III takes readers inside the "Miracle Cars" scam begun in 1994 by dead-end security guards Robert "Buddha" Gomez and James Nichols. The boys conned thousands of customers from Los Angeles to New York-mostly devout churchgoers-into buying bargain-priced cars from the estate of Gomez's deceased millionaire father. The cars cost just a few thousand dollars apiece-Dad's dying gift to his fellow Bible believers. Yet, there was no dead millionaire father. There were no cars. And there is still no trace of $8.7 million of the $21 million stolen by the now-convicted Gomez and Nichols. Armed with a list of cars and evangelical charisma, Buddha and James offered a fictional slice of the good life as a reward for piety, and the pious blindly bought in. They kept the con alive for five years, cast it nationwide through a network of pastors who sold cars during church services, and briefly realized their dreams until the Feds brought them down. While converting millions of dollars into gambling chips, Buddha became a legend of the California casinos, sitting at poker tables with pornographer Larry Flynt; Nichols began a collection of real cars valued at $343,000. GOD WANTS YOU TO ROLL is the most elaborate, cruel, and irresistible true crime story to come along in years.
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