Authorities in Wisconsin are bound and determined to crack down on gray market vehicles. According to Stevens Point Journal, In 2010, the state government orchestrated a sting to catch Justin Beno selling two Nissan Skyline models, one of which played a role in the Fast and Furious franchise.
A Wisconsin Department of Transportation investigator spotted both a 1995 and a 1996 Skyline up for sale and pretended to be a buyer. The investigator asked if it were possible to get the cars titled, and Beno said he believed the vehicles could be titled in Florida, then retitled in Wisconsin.
This was not the correct answer. The government seized both cars and charged Beno with a spate of offenses, including two felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, one felony count of owning a vehicle without a vehicle identification number tag and two misdemeanors tied to those missing VIN tags. Beno said he had originally purchased the cars as bare shells without the tags and that the seller later mailed them along. He also says he didn't know it was a crime to simply own a car without its VIN tag attached.
Brown County Deputy District Attorney Dana Johnson offered Beno a plea deal wherein he would accept the misdemeanor charges and give up both fully restored Skylines. After offering to pay the fines and help the authorities find buyers for both machines overseas, the prosecutor declined. Instead, both cars will be crushed and sold for scrap. That's particularly heartbreaking after Beno spent years assembling both from parts bought from all over the world. It's made worse by the fact that in just a few short years, both cars will be exempt from federal safety and emissions standards for vehicles over 25 years old. Head over to Beno's site to see the Big Bird Skyline that's headed for the reaper.