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.
Carmona is charged with four counts of selling vehicles with tampered odometers and selling cars without a license.
Modha said a Carfax report helped him figure out the truth about that Corolla.
“It came out 121,000 miles which was already reported in 2012 and now the original miles on the car was over 200,000 miles," Modha said.
Carmona is now out of jail on bond and the Director of Consumer Protection for Hillsborough County said, you need to vet your mechanics and body shop owners.
“If they have a current license, they’ve been in business for a while and they have no complaints against them that’s one of the best ways consumers can look into whether or not they’re going to have a good experience with that business," Eric Olsen, division director of consumer protection, said.
Modha alerted authorities to protect other people from Carmona.
"These people might be doing it with other people also the innocent people who don’t know what’s going on," Modha said.
An employee said Pedro is not at work today and Florida Highway Patrol said this is an ongoing investigation.