Department of Revenue CIB Agents Assist in Joint Task Force Operation

JEFFERSON CITY — Special Agents Doug Scotten and Mike Fryer, of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Compliance and Investigation Bureau (CIB), recently assisted the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) in Operation Clean Sweep. The operation’s purpose was to identify salvage operations in the Kansas City metropolitan area, ensure compliance with Missouri salvage laws and locate stolen vehicles.

Operation Clean Sweep took place over the course of two days in mid-May. During that time, the task force identified an unlicensed salvage operation and a large, illegal “chop shop” operation. The task force also checked the accuracy of 898 vehicle identification numbers, visited approximately 23 salvage and body shop businesses being checked for compliance, and recovered 12 stolen vehicles, two stolen trailers and one stolen piece of equipment.

“The general purpose of investigations like Operation Clean Sweep is to ensure businesses are in compliance with Missouri’s salvage licensure laws, as well as sales tax and titling laws related to motor vehicles,” said CIB Investigation Manager Nick Humphrey. “As part of Operation Clean Sweep, DOR investigators provided their expertise in checking the validity of vehicle identification numbers, business record requirements, odometer tampering and vehicle title tampering.”

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Tip leads investigators to stolen vehicles in suspected chop shop in Independence

Emily Rittman/KCTV5

A number of stolen vehicles were found inside a suspected 'chop shop' in Independence.

When officers inspected a storage lot, they found dismantled vehicles with VIN numbers missing.

Among them was the truck that belonged to Brian Sollars, who posted a picture of his stolen 2012 GMC online on the Stolen KC Facebook page.

Sollars said a stranger reached out to him shortly after, providing details about the truck.

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Department of Revenue CIB agent assists with breakup of suspected ‘chop shop’ in Independence

JEFFERSON CITY — Special Agent Doug Scotten, of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Compliance and Investigation Bureau (CIB), recently worked an investigation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) that ultimately led to the breakup of a suspected “chop shop” operation in Independence, Missouri.

“I want to commend Agent Scotten and the Missouri State Highway Patrol for their great work in this case,” said Department Director Joel Walters. “Thanks to their investigation, there’s now one less illegal enterprise in the state of Missouri and several reports of stolen vehicles have been resolved.”

After Brian Sollars posted a picture on Facebook of his 2012 GMC pickup that had been stolen from his residence, he was contacted on Facebook by a stranger who claimed he knew the truck’s location and was able to provide an accurate description. The anonymous source gave Sollars the address, which was for a shop and storage lot on N Atherton Road in Independence. Sollars then reached out to the Bates County Sheriff’s Office, who forwarded the information to Agent Scotten with the CIB. Agent Scotten then contacted the MSHP for assistance in investigating the incident.

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Kennett man pleads guilty to fraud charge

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — The United States Attorney’s Office announced that Nicholas H. Brock, 36, of Kennett, Missouri, pled guilty to one felony count of mail fraud. He appeared before United States District Judge John A. Ross.

Brock admitted that beginning on or about Feb. 10, 2017, and continuing through about June 13, 2017, in Dunklin County, Missouri, he defrauded a lien holder for an over-the-road tractor trailer truck financed by North Mill Equipment Finance, LLC, for a 2008 Peterbilt over-the-road truck in which the lender retained a security interest. Brock prepared and sent, via the mail, a Form 4577, Missouri Department of Revenue, Vehicle Owner and Lien holder notification to the lender, falsely claiming that a 2008 Peterbilt over-the-road tractor trailer truck had been towed by his towing company, Elite Tow & Recovery, from Pendleton, Oregon, on February 10, 2017, for a “breakdown.” The towing charge was $16,096 plus storage costs of $100 a day. Brock mailed the fraudulent Form 4577 for the purpose of obtaining a clean title for that vehicle from the Missouri Department of Revenue as an abandoned vehicle, based on the lienholder’s failure to pay the tow bill after receiving notice of the bill.

Brock also prepared a Form 4576, Missouri Department of Revenue Abandoned Property Affidavit, in which Brock falsely represented to the Missouri Department of Revenue that the 2008 Peterbilt truck had been abandoned. Brock mailed that form to the Missouri Department of Revenue to obtain a Certificate of Title for the over-the-road truck, based on a bogus and false tow bill.

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Jackson Man Charged in Large Scale Vehicle Odometer Roll Back Scheme

Department of Justice
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.

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Norfolk man pleads guilty to rolling back odometers on at least 50 used cars, reselling for profit

A Norfolk man conspired to roll back the odometers of more than 50 vehicles before selling them to used-car dealerships and others, according to court documents.

Lawson W. Basnight, 47, pleaded guilty Thursday to the fraud – which resulted in $250,000 to $550,000 in losses.

“He’s accepted responsibility and knows what he did was wrong,” Moody “Sonny” Stallings Jr., Basnight’s attorney, said after the plea hearing. He said his client expects to serve some time in jail and was ready to start his sentence Thursday, “but the judge talked him out of it.”

A sentencing hearing is set for May 16 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. Basnight faces a maximum of five years in prison.

Prosecutors Jacqueline Blaesi-Freed and Elizabeth Yusi declined to comment.

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Mother-daughter employees of Central Texas tax office arrested

CAMERON, Texas (KWTX) A mother and daughter who worked in the Milam County Tax Office were free on bond Tuesday after they were arrested on warrants stemming from an investigation of forged vehicle registrations.

Lydia Cervantes, 55, and her daughter Laura Renee Cervantes, 26, were arrested at the tax office Monday by agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Milam County Sheriff David E. Green said.

Green said both were booked into the county jail and were released after posting bond.

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Two arrested in misconduct investigation into Denton County Tax Office

Two people were arrested on bribery charges last month in connection with a misconduct investigation into the Denton County Tax Office.

Former tax office employee Tramanski Johnson, who worked at the Lewisville branch, was booked into Denton County Jail on Sept. 12 after turning himself in on the bribery charge, police said. Juana Caballero, a notary public who allegedly notarized forged documents, was booked on the bribery charge Sept. 11.

The Denton County Sheriff's Office investigated the case. The affidavit in support of the suspects' arrest outlines a complex scheme involving bribes to process fraudulent vehicle title transfers.

The tax office collects property taxes, renews vehicle registrations and contracts with several car dealerships to issue titles on new vehicles. The office has six locations within the county, including Lewisville, Cross Roads, Frisco and Flower Mound. The main Denton office is at 1505 E. McKinney St. Continue reading

Emissions test, odometer fraud found at vehicle inspection stations in Harris County, deputies say

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.

Original Article: http://cw39.com/2017/10/20/emissions-test-odometer-fraud-found-at-vehicle-inspection-stations-in-harris-county-deputies-say/

‘Rolling back’ suspect accused of tampering with hundreds of vehicles

A Grand Prairie man is accused of rolling back odometers to hundreds of vehicles in Texas. Star-Telegram - Courtesy