Massachusetts State police warn of vehicle odometer rollback scam

The Massachusetts State Police, in conjunction with the Missouri Highway Patrol have been investigating a series of consumer frauds, related to the purchase and subsequent sale of motor vehicles by a man and woman residing in Connecticut and the Kansas City Metropolitan area.

The couple purchases a vehicle, typically from the Craigslist internet auction site. The vehicle’s mileage reading is altered and the vehicle is placed back on Craigslist. The two suspects pose as the previous owners of the vehicle. The investigation revealed approximately 48 vehicle purchases/sales within the past year in the Kansas City Missouri area and an undetermined number of vehicles sold in the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is possible not all the transactions involve an odometer rollback. Investigators are seeking to discuss these transactions with the sellers and purchasers of these vehicles. There has been no indication of impropriety on behalf of the sellers or purchasers, and investigators are still trying to determine the potential number of victims.

The suspects do not use their names during, 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 Massachusetts State Police Compliance Unit Trooper Stephen Walker, at 857-368-8626.

Original Article: https://www.newbedfordguide.com/massachusetts-state-police-warn-of-vehicle-odometer-rollback-scam/2017/06/01

Georgia Dealer and Title Clerk Sentenced in Odometer Fraud Scheme

Department of Justice

Two Georgia residents were sentenced in Atlanta, Georgia today for their roles in a conspiracy to alter odometers of used motor vehicles, the Justice Department announced.

Rojen Burnett, 35, of Conyers, Georgia, and Amber McLaughlin, 33, of Duluth, Georgia, each were sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.

Burnett owned and operated Lifestyle Auto Broker LLC, a Georgia corporation that bought and sold used motor vehicles; McLaughlin was a former customer service specialist at the Motor Vehicle Department of the Georgia Department of Revenue. In 2012 and 2013, Burnett bought high-mileage used motor vehicles, altered the mileage on the titles, rolled-back the odometers, obtained new titles with false low mileages, and sold the vehicles to unsuspecting dealers. The dealers, in turn, sold them to consumers. McLaughlin helped Burnett commit odometer fraud by fraudulently issuing new Georgia titles with false low mileages in exchange for cash.

“Buying a car or truck is one of the biggest financial decisions that consumers make,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Odometer fraudsters victimize consumers by making them pay substantially more for a used car that is less safe and less reliable than the consumer wanted or needed. The Justice Department will hold these fraudsters accountable for their crimes.”+

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Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) – Press Release

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV)

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.

Victims of alleged auto title fraud and rollbacks reimbursed by district attorney’s office

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)

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.

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USED MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER AND FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE ARRESTED IN GEORGIA FOR ODOMETER TAMPERING SCHEME

Department of Justice

Two Atlanta, Georgia, residents were arrested this week by a team of federal and Georgia state agents, the Department of Justice announced.

Rojen Burnett, 33, and Amber McLaughlin, 32, were charged in a 25-count indictment with securities fraud, making false odometer statements and conspiracy to commit these offenses.  Burnett owned and operated Lifestyle Auto Broker LLC, a Georgia corporation that bought and sold used motor vehicles.  McLaughlin was a customer service specialist at the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) of the Georgia Department of Revenue, the indictment alleges.

According to the indictment, as early as February 2012 and through at least May 2013, the defendants devised a scheme to defraud buyers of used motor vehicles by rolling back the vehicles’ odometers and causing consumers to pay more for the vehicles than they would have paid if they had known the vehicles’ actual miles.

As part of the scheme, the indictment charges that Burnett purchased high-mileage, used motor vehicles from auctions in Maryland and Virginia. Burnett then caused the odometers in these vehicles to be altered to reflect false, lower mileage, according to the charges. The indictment also alleges that Burnett caused the existing titles associated with these vehicles to be altered to reflect the false, lower mileages.  McLaughlin provided him with newly issued, clean Georgia titles reflecting the false, lower mileages, according to the charges.

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Road Warrior: Low miles? Used car may be too good to be true

Hardly anybody I know pays much attention to the odometer reading when buying a used car — unless, of course, it’s exceptionally high. After all, low mileage is usually the main qualifier when buying a pre-owned vehicle because it suggests the two of you will likely enjoy a few more good years before it gives you serious trouble.

But judging by an arrest for odometer fraud in South Hackensack a week ago, ignoring a low-mileage reading might mark the beginning of serious trouble. “Odometer fraud? How’d they do that?” said Sal, an otherwise astute car owner I know from Barnegat.

Like me, Sal thought rolling back odometers was the kind of crime that all but disappeared when computers were introduced in most cars around the end of the 20th century. Those of us who began driving when hood ornaments were still popular remember how amateur mechanics would break into the odometer housing behind the dashboard and roll back the miles by hand.

Those days are long gone. And so is the housing, said Robert Foster, an officer in a consortium of state investigators called the National Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association.

“It’s easier to do now than it was before computerization,” said Foster. “With the right kind of knowledge and software, a mechanic can get into the onboard computer and reset the mileage to anything he wants.”

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Feds: Chesapeake car dealership rolled back at least 76 odometers, secured doctored titles

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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.

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Sales of vehicles with rolled-back odometers lead to lengthy jail sentence

A North York man has been sentenced to 450 days in prison after being found guilty of odometer tampering.

Mehran Amini received the longest sentence ever handed out in Ontario for illegal vehicle sales, according to a statement from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC).

The statement said Amini was charged after OMVIC investigators discovered he'd purchased 30 vehicles from Western Canada, and shipped them to Ontario.

A North York man has been sentenced to 450 days in prison after being found guilty of odometer tampering and 'curbsiding.'

Amini then rolled back the odometers on the vehicles, which were mostly late-model pick-up trucks with high mileage, investigators said.

"They are vehicles that could be near end-of-life, but they were paying huge dollars -- $30 to $40,000 -- for these vehicles," OMVIC Director of Communications Terry O'Keefe told CTV Toronto's Pat Foran.

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Hidden camera investigation uncovers used car odometer rollback

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.

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Missouri Patrol Seeking Information In Consumer Fraud Investigation

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