Even with the dawn on the digital odometer, used car buyers should be aware of odometer fraud. That's the warning from Carfax.
"In fact these digital odometers can be easier to rollback because A) we're not looking for it and B), there's widespread availability of tools that simply plug into the car's computer and essentially hacking it," said Chris Basso of Carfax.
Basso suggests checking with a site like Carfax or having an auto mechanic check out the car you're considering before you purchase.
For the full demonstration of how a digital odometer can be rolled back, see the video player above.
St. Louis, MO – Melvin Harmon was sentenced to 33 months incarceration and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $119,359.92 for conspiracy to defraud the United States and mail fraud by assisting Missouri residents in registering their cars in Illinois.
According to evidence at trial, between January 1, 2015 and December 20, 2016, Melvin Harmon was employed at a Granite City, Illinois office registering vehicles for the State of Illinois Secretary of State. He used his employment to assist Missouri residents in obtaining fraudulent motor vehicle registrations for others in exchange for a fee. Some of the Missouri residents learned of his services when they saw flyers advertising Harmon as “The Plate Man.”
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Montcalm County man is suing a Fennville couple for allegedly selling him a pickup truck that had nearly 150,000 more miles on it than its odometer showed.
Anthony Woldring Roberts and his wife, Ashley Roberts, are accused of violating the Federal Odometer Act, fraud and reselling vehicles without a dealer license through their business, A&A Quality Services.
In the federal lawsuit filed in Grand Rapids Tuesday, lawyers for Jarred Stratton say the couple bought a pickup truck from Chicago businessman Ramiro Padilla, who is accused of purchasing high mileage vehicles and often rolling back the odometers or swapping them out for ones displaying a lower mileage.
The lawsuit accuses Padilla of buying the pickup truck from a Colorado auction, then getting a new title in Illinois, a state that does not disclose mileage in its titles.
Patrick and Kristi Smith of Waterville stand with their 2005 Subaru Outback after learning Thursday that the vehicle’s seller, James Shaw of Standish, allegedly tampered with the odometer. “It actually answers a bunch of questions for us,” Kristi Smith said. “We’ve had nothing but problems.” Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
When Kristi Smith and her husband, Patrick, bought their Subaru from a Standish man in January 2017, she knew something seemed off.
The 2005 Outback had only 117,000 miles on it, and for the Smith family, the price was right – $3,500.
“We went to go buy the car and the guy wouldn’t look me in the face,” said Kristi Smith, 43. “But it was a really good deal with low miles, so it was like, ‘Whatever.’ ”
Now, 15 months and several thousand dollars in car repairs later, the Smiths are among more than a dozen car buyers who were allegedly suckered by James Shaw, 35, who has been charged with tampering with the vehicles’ odometers and other crimes.
Shaw was supposed to appear Thursday in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court to answer to the 17-count complaint, but he didn’t show up, so a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, court records show.
The complaint, issued by the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles, is the culmination of two years of work.
Jackson, Miss. – Mark Longgrear, 53, of Jackson, Mississippi was arrested yesterday and charged in a federal criminal complaint with rolling back the odometers of multiple high mileage vehicles and selling such fraudulently altered vehicles with doctored titles, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Supervisory Special Agent David W. Sparks with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation.
Longgrear appeared in court today for an initial appearance on the criminal complaint before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson.
According to the criminal complaint and affidavit, for at least the last four years, Mark Longgrear, operating individually and through his company Southern Auto Buyers LLC, bought more than 50 late model, high mileage vehicles from auctions, dealerships, and/or individuals, thereafter illegally altered the odometers of such vehicles to show lower mileage, forged and fraudulently created paperwork to secure new titles showing false lower mileage for these vehicles, and then sold said vehicles directly to individuals and automobile dealerships at much higher prices. He used internet websites to sell some of these vehicles directly to consumers, and also used employment and wholesale relationships with large Mississippi automobile dealerships in Jackson and Vicksburg to sell these fraudulently altered odometer vehicles to these dealerships, who in turn unknowingly sold them to consumers with this false information.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A New York man has admitted to operating a crime ring that rented out more than a thousand fake Pennsylvania license plates.
Rafael Levi, 51, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty Friday in Dauphin County Court to 36 third-degree felonies, Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office said. Levi was charged in April 2017 with more than 500 counts.
Prosecutors said the ring charged $400 a month for fake plates that people used in order to avoid paying more than $1 million in parking fines and highway tolls in New York, Pennsylvania, and neighboring states.
The ring dubbed “Operation Car Wash” also provided fake insurance cards, rolled back odometer readings on cars it bought and sold, and issued phony letters to PennDOT to get clean vehicle titles.
Levi also pleaded guilty on behalf of nine businesses. Each will be ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 and a civil penalty of $15,000.
Eight members of the ring also pleaded guilty Friday to crimes including theft and insurance fraud.
Shapiro said his office is seeking restitution of more than $1.5 million from the defendants.
As part of his plea, Levi agreed to forfeit numerous luxury vehicles including a 2015 Rolls Royce Wraith, a 2015 Ferrari, and a 2007 Ferrari F430.
A man who lived in Sioux Falls and sold vehicles at River Auto Sales, LLC has been sentenced to two years in the South Dakota Penitentiary.
Chad Michael Blair, 42, formerly of Sioux Falls and currently listed as a resident of Houston Texas, was sentenced November 28 to one count of deceptive trade practices and one count of odometer alteration. Blair was also ordered to pay $3,375 in restitution.
Attorney General Marty Jackley commented on the conviction and subsequent sentencing.
“Tampering with odometers in order to get more money for vehicles from innocent victims is wrong and illegal,” said Jackley. “We will continue to hold responsible individuals who take unfair advantage of consumers.”
According to a statement from the South Dakota Attorney General's office, Blair managed River Auto Sales, swapping high mileage odometers with lower mileage odometers obtained from a used auto parts retailer. State law requires a notice to be posted with the vehicle of a changed odometer, which was not done.
This case was investigated by South Dakota Division of Revenue and the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — At least two people have been arrested after an investigation revealed the suspects were conducting fraudulent vehicle inspections at two separate stations in Houston, the Harris County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office said.
Investigators received information that BI-LO Used Cars located at 2823 South Shaver Street was allegedly rolling back odometers on used cars and conducting fraudulent vehicle inspections using a procedure called clean scanning.
Clean scanning is when an inspector tricks the monitoring tool by entering in the vehicle identification number for an automobile that would fail an emissions test, but then connects the monitor to a vehicle that would pass. Meanwhile, odometer rollback is the illegal practice of changing or altering the mileage readings on vehicle to make it appear as though it has been driven less than it has.
Investigators report that over a 90 day period 54 percent of the vehicle inspections conducted were unlawful.
Another investigation concentrated on Hardy’s State Inspection located at 12965 W. Hardy Road was also using a “clean scanning” procedure. The shop is a state-licensed vehicle inspection station, deputies said.
The constable’s office reported over a 90 day period 76 percent of the vehicle inspections conducted were unlawful.
Deputies said arrest warrants were executed at both shops, resulting in the arrest of Adel Yacoub and Raymond Mentzel.
Yacoub and Mentzel are each facing two counts of tampering with a governmental record.
A used car dealership was caught selling cars with modified odometers.
Customers didn't find out the odometers had been tampered with until after they bought them.
Moe Motors in South Milwaukee is coming off a 21-day suspension after an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation revealed they lowered odometers and didn't disclose the changes, which is required by law.
"Set it back to 0 and you put a sticker on the doorjamb that says what the reading was, or you have to reset that odometer and the cluster to what the previous reading was," said Michael Domke with the Department of Transportation.
Domke said the company sold 11 cars with odometer violations.
Moe Motors has to pay more than $13,000 to those customers.
No one at Moe's was available for comment Friday. Domke said violations like this are rare at licensed dealers.
"Most common we see it in private party sales, like cars being sold on Craigslist or other places online," Domke said.
Moe Motors is back open, but the DOT said they could force them out of business if this happens again.
The National Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association (NOTFEA) is a non-profit, professional organization formed originally in 1980 as the National Odometer Enforcement Association (NOEA).
The association is chartered as a non-profit corporation with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is registered as a 501(C)(3) organization with the Internal Revenue Service.
Membership in NOTFEA is restricted to individuals working for law enforcement and consumer protection agencies, licensing and motor vehicle departments, and private attorneys and investigators who are responsible for detecting, deterring, and prosecuting odometer, rebuilt/salvage, and other title fraud offenders under state, federal, and other applicable laws.