In April 2014, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) received several complaints from a county tax office regarding the use of fraudulent identification documents to transfer titles. The TxDMV opened an investigation and determined Damaris Sarai Martinez submitted over 40 title transactions listing fraudulent Texas driver licenses, fraudulent addresses, and fraudulent trade allowances. The TxDMV partnered with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division to further investigate Martinez. A search warrant was obtained for a location where she operated and fraudulent documents were obtained. Martinez was charged for violation of Texas Transportation Code, Section 501.155, False Name, False Information, and Forgery, which is a third degree felony. On February 24, 2017, she entered into a plea agreement for ten years confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and payment of a $2,000 fine. The sentence was suspended, and she was placed on probation for five years. Martinez was subsequently taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.
Many victims of JD’s Auto Sales were reimbursed Thursday morning. Customers were victims of alleged odometer rollback and title fraud. The car lot was shutdown and the owners were arrested Nov. 13, 2014. (Staff Photo: Kayla Langmaid)
JONESBORO — Nearly two years after a Forest Park dealership was raided and the owners were arrested for multiple violations, the Clayton County District Attorney’s office is working to reimburse at least 90 victims who were affected by an alleged scam at the hands of the owners.
Customers who fell victims to a purported scheme by JD’s Auto Sales on Jonesboro Road were given the opportunity to get some of their money back Thursday, thanks to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson presented 68 victims with a check for $1,250 Thursday morning at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center. The remaining victims will be mailed a check.
Owner of JD’s Auto Sales, John Emumwen Egbe and his son, Sylvester Emumwen Egbe, were arrested during a raid Nov. 13, 2014. The two men face charges of certificate of title violations and false swearing due to a large number of odometer rollbacks and title fraud.
The 130-car lot was raided by officers with Georgia Department of Revenue, Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Forest Park Police Department and Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.
A Chesapeake used-car dealership rolled back odometers in at least 76 vehicles, some of them by more than 100,000 miles, federal prosecutors allege in court documents.
But state and federal officials declined this week to identify the business in question, citing an ongoing investigation involving the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Department of Justice. They said the only charges filed so far in connection with the alleged conspiracy involve a former employee of the city of Norfolk who they believe helped cover up the scheme.
A DMV spokeswoman confirmed the dealership is “no longer open.” She added that her department’s standard procedure is “to make efforts to notify possible victims of suspected odometer fraud.”
William Childress, the executive director of the board tasked with regulating the state’s new- and used-car dealerships, said he had not heard about the case and couldn’t comment. But he added that 76 incidents of odometer fraud linked to one dealership would be a “huge deal.”
Steven Bazemore, 33, of Virginia Beach is expected to plead guilty May 26 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Carteia Basnight, Bazemore’s attorney, did not return calls or emails seeking comment.
HOUSTON - Texas is the second state in the nation for odometer fraud, according to data compiled by Carfax.
It occurs when an odometer’s mileage is rolled back, or lowered, to make the vehicle appear to have fewer miles.
“When you lower the mileage on a vehicle, you are artificially inflating the value of it and costing consumers thousands of dollars,” said Chris Basso, a spokesperson for Carfax.
The vehicle history report website estimates that over 150,000 vehicles in Texas are suspected to have an odometer rollback.
Chris Zimmerman and his wife are driving around in one of those vehicles.
When Zimmerman and his wife had a third child, it was time for a minivan, so they went to Craigslist to shop for a reliable vehicle with low miles.
n June, Zimmerman came across an ad from a man who claimed to be selling his wife’s van and only identified himself as Mike. He was selling a Honda Odyssey and advertising the vehicle had less than 80,000 miles.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Missouri State Highway Patrol have been investigating a series of consumer frauds related to the sale of vehicles by a KC couple.
The couple has been known to purchase a vehicle, typically from Craigslist. The couple will then alter the mileage on the vehicle and re-sell it on Craigslist, posing as the owners of the vehicle.
The investigation revealed approximately 48 vehicle purchases/sales within the past year; iis possible not all the transactions involve an odometer rollback. Investigators are still trying to determine the potential number of victims.
The suspects do not use their names during transactions, and typically use disposable pay-as-you-go cell phones.
The man is approximately 5’ 9”, medium build, and has an “East Coast” accent. If present, the woman typically stays in a green Nissan Quest minivan with their children while the transactions are conducted.
If you or someone you know has purchased a vehicle from these individuals, please contact Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Nate Bradley, at 816-622-0800.
Original Article: http://www.kmbz.com/Missouri-Patrol-Seeking-Information-In-Consumer-Fr/22147951
LUTZ, Fla. - One Lutz man thought he was getting a deal on a used car, but he nearly got taken for a ride.
Deputies said a self-proclaimed car dealer was selling people vehicles with altered odometers.
According to the sign out front, Carmona Service Corporation will do body and mechanic work on your car. But on Wednesday, 64-year-old Pedro Carmona was arrested and charged with 11 counts, including tampering with the odometers on four vehicles.
Just last week, Mahesh Modha said he saw an ad on Craigslist for a Toyota Corolla LE with 31,000 miles for less than $10,000.
“We were ready to pay cash also, but it turned out we were scammed," Modha said.
Modha said Pedro Carbona and his nephew Gio met him to sell the car. Modha paid $1,000, got a receipt and promised to pay the rest.
"They were claiming to be a dealer actually, you know Gio said my uncle is a dealer, so I said I normally trust dealer because dealer had a license," Modha said.
ST. LOUIS • Eight St. Louis-area men and women have been sentenced for their involvement in a ring that altered vehicle documents to obtain loans, prosecutors said Thursday.
The ring altered documents to remove lienholders before selling the vehicles or to obtain new loans, prosecutors said. They also reduced the value of the vehicles on documents or changed the state of residence of owners to dodge taxes and license fees, they said.
Federal, state and local investigators were able to document $311,000 in losses due to the scheme, but estimate that the true loss amount approached $1 million.
The eight defendants received prison terms ranging from probation to more than 11 years in prison.
The final defendant in the case, Justin Carter, 22, of St. Louis, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison. The leader, Randall Hinton, 33, of St. Louis was sentenced Aug. 11 to 11 years, four months in prison, prosecutors said.
Original Article: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/from-st-louis-area-sentenced-for-vehicle-title-fraud-ring/article_caf48294-7e55-5095-9ab7-c77e17635956.html
Almost everyone has shopped for a used car and buying a used vehicle is always a big deal for most consumers. Savvy buyers spend days or weeks searching for the right vehicle at the right price to fit their needs.
When shopping for a used vehicle and during the buying process, a major consideration is the mileage on the pre-owned vehicle. Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana offers advice to help consumers ensure they are not taken by odometer fraud.
BBB alerts consumers that one in 10 American vehicles has a tampered or “rolled back” odometer, according to the Consumer Federation of America. According to Car Fax, a BBB Accredited Business, odometer fraud is one of the oldest automotive scams and the introduction of digital odometers has done nothing to halt it.
BBB offers the following tips to help consumers detect odometer fraud when purchasing a used vehicle:
- Always check with BBB first.
- Compare the mileage
- Inspect the vehicle
- Hire an expert to inspect
If you realize that you have bought a car with a rolled back odometer, report it to the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General at: http://www.ag.state.la.us/Article.aspx?articleID=37&catID=0 .
Original Article: http://klfy.com/2015/05/11/eye-on-scams-used-cars/
David Bernando Cruz
TAVARES — A two-county investigation has shut down an Astatula chop shop whose operators are accused of dealing in stolen cars from three states, authorities said.
David Bernando Cruz, 30, and his wife, Joselyn Cruz, 31, were charged with operating a chop shop. David Cruz has been released from the Lake County Jail after posting a $50,000 bond. Joselyn Cruz was jailed in Osceola County on the same bail.
Lake County detectives began investigating the two after receiving information from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office regarding the couple having a large amount of vehicles to sell and looking for a place to get rid of them.
The couple allegedly stole vehicles throughout Florida, as well as in Alabama and Georgia, with a tow truck they owned. They reportedly rolled back the mileage and covered up any damage to the vehicles.
It also was alleged that David Cruz would get vehicles from owners who couldn’t make their car payments under an agreement that he would assume the payments. He then allegedly hid those vehicles from repossession companies until he could obtain fraudulent titles on the vehicles and resell them.
Lake County sheriff’s detectives eventually learned of a warehouse at 14200 Corkwood Lane in Astatula,where the couple had allegedly been hiding vehicles.