Why would someone like this foul things up? We know it is because of greed, but nonetheless isn’t being CEO of Ferrari North America and then COO of Bugatti a high unto itself? Can you imagine the perks? Oh, well. Maurizio Parlato was the top dog for Ferrari and Bugatti in North America. At the beginning of this year, he resigned from Bugatti for “personal reasons.” Now we know why. He pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar kickback scheme.
We should explain that no companies are called out by name in the New York Field Office federal investigation summary of the scheme. But the locations and other related info in the plea leads directly to Ferrari and Bugatti. And Parlato has been head of both with their North American operations.
“This defendant admitted rigging access to purchase high-end sports cars”
So far he has pleaded guilty to one count of failing to report what are off-shore accounts, and one count of filing a false tax return. “This defendant admitted rigging access to purchase high-end sports cars to line his own pockets, then failed to pay taxes on the money he made on his deals,” Attorney for the United States Rachael Honig said. “He tilted the playing field to his own advantage, cheating legitimate buyers and the government in the process. Our office remains firmly committed to prosecuting those who defraud the public and the government.”
Some of this has to do with the arcane process both Ferrari and Bugatti exercise in selling their cars. It almost asks for shenanigans and a scheme or two. The investigation says that both companies “established a formula based on various criteria to allocate Supercars to dealers, and to determine which specific customers would be placed on the “Approved List” to buy the Supercar.” This has to do with Ferrari’s vetting to be assured the buyer isn’t a speculator poised to flip the car as soon as it comes into their possession for more money than it sold for.
Parlato received payments to move certain buyers into the queue for a new Ferrari or Bugatti
Parlato received payments essentially to move certain buyers into the queue for a new Ferrari or Bugatti. Even after he left Ferrari he was involved in placing buyers on the approved Ferrari list. The investigation says that Parlato received $2,770,375.83 (yikes, right down to the cent!). That bought the payers spots on the approved list and also buyers that would otherwise never be allowed on the approved list.
Parlato also influenced franchise renewals for certain dealers who then sold certain Bugattis for on average $2.6 million over MSRP. Because he didn’t claim his underhanded gains on his income tax returns the IRS went after him. It is estimated he owes $1.1 million. But there’s more. He faces three years in prison and $250,000 in fines for the false tax return and up to five years and $250,000 in fines for not reporting foreign bank or financial account charges.
“Ferrari was made aware of the situation and condemns such behavior, in any form”
Here’s Ferrari’s statement: “Ferrari was made aware of the situation and condemns such behavior, in any form. We have cooperated fully with the appropriate authorities and are satisfied to see that justice has been served.”
And Bugatti’s statement: “Maurizio Parlato left Bugatti in January 2020 to pursue other interests. Bugatti is headquartered in Molsheim, France (not Maranello, Italy). Other than that, we have no comment.” In the end, it was greed over gig.