Florida man charged in stolen rental car scheme fails to appear for plea hearing | News


DANVERS — A Florida man who was set to plead guilty to his role in a scheme to ship stolen rental vehicles to Massachusetts failed to show up either Monday or Tuesday and is now wanted on a warrant.

Elvis Francois and a second person, Robert Pagliarulo, of Kingston, New Hampshire, were charged in the scheme to swindle at least seven customers who were browsing on auto dealership lots along Route 114 in Danvers back in 2016.

Pagliarulo, 52, who did not work for any of the dealerships, allegedly approached people, telling them he was a salesman and offering them deals on luxury vehicles at bargain prices. The vehicles would be brought to Massachusetts on a truck.

Only later did the buyers find out that the vehicles they’d purchased actually belonged to car rental companies in Florida. The vehicle identification numbers had been altered.

Francois, 45, of Miami, was originally supposed to stand trial this week, but after his attorney worked out a plea agreement with a prosecutor, the court scheduled a change of plea hearing instead.

When Francois did not appear in Lawrence Superior Court on Monday, his lawyer, Scott Gleason, said there appeared to have been some confusion over dates, and that Francois was unable to get to Massachusetts from Florida.

Judge William Barrett issued a warrant but agreed to give Francois another day to show up.

On Tuesday, court records show, the judge was told Francois was on his way and about 30 minutes from court.

But according to the docket, after the judge had waited for close to an hour, with still no sign of Francois, he ordered the warrant to be formally entered into police computers.

A hearing on whether the woman who posted Francois’ $20,000 bail, Tangela Yarbrough, will forfeit those funds, is set for May 10.

Pagliarulo, who is a restaurant owner in southern New Hampshire, has worked out a plea agreement in the case that required him to testify against Francois if the case went to trial.

Pagliarulo is currently set to appear in court to resolve his case on May 5.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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