Two Long Beach, Mississippi, men pleaded guilty today for their roles in a long-running odometer tampering scheme, the Department of Justice announced.
Oscar M. Baine, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to alter odometers and one count of odometer tampering. Jeffrey Lyn Savarese II, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to alter odometers. Both defendants appeared in federal court in Gulfport before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. The court set sentencing hearings for both defendants for Oct. 17.
As part of his plea agreement, Baine admitted that he purchased high-mileage vehicles from wholesale automobile auctions, dealerships, and individuals, and arranged to alter the vehicles’ odometers to reflect false, lower-mileage readings. Baine admitted that he paid Savarese and others to change or alter odometers at his used car lot in Gulfport. Baine then sold the rolled-back vehicles to unsuspecting consumers for inflated prices. Savarese admitted that he began altering odometers for Mississippi and Louisiana used-car dealers in 2011 and reset the odometers on at least 200 used vehicles for Baine.
A Powhatan County man was convicted Monday for his role in a scheme that rolled back the odometers on more than 50 vehicles, fraudulently boosting the value of each one by as much as $10,000.
Michael Carey Eubank, 52, who owns an automotive electronics repair shop in Powhatan, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to alter a motor vehicle odometer and faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Oct. 9 by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr.
A two-page criminal charge filed June 10 alleged that Eubank’s company website advertised services that included “odometer re-programming or re-setting.” It also stated that, “Mileage proof [is] required, odometer tampering is a federal crime.”
The charge only identified the company as “Company 1.” But Eubank told Gibney on Monday that his company is Advanced Auto Electronics and was formerly located in Midlothian.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Lee County deputy who once campaigned for sheriff is on administrative leave, and now his business is under investigation by a state agency.
James Didio ran for Lee County Sheriff in 2016. Fox 4 has learned that a customer of Didio's used car business, Southwest Florida Motors in Fort Myers, claims that someone rolled back the odometer on a car they bought there.
Last week, the Lee County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Didio has been placed on administrative leave, but would not say why.
Fox 4 found that a customer complained to the Better Business Bureau in March that a car purchased at Southwest Florida Motors showed an odometer reading of about 107,000 miles. The complaint states that "the car has over 160,000 miles, but shows 107,000 from having the odometer illegally changed." The customer claims that the discrepancy was discovered by checking oil change records.
In a response to the complaint, Southwest Florida Motors wrote, "The moment I was informed of a possible odometer fraud from years before I ever owned the vehicle, we did a complete AutoCheck Dealer VIN scan. The check came back 'No odometer fraud found.'"
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is investigating the complaint, but the Lee County Sheriff's Office will not confirm that is the reason for Didio's administrative leave..
Didio could not be reached for comment on this story.
Like most big criminal cases, the odometer fraud ring that Missouri Highway Patrol Cpl. Nate Bradley recently busted started with one victim.
"A gentleman came to my shop here in Lee's Summit and he said, 'Hey, I bought this car, and I think I got swindled,'" Bradley recalls. "So I started looking into it and sure enough, he got swindled."
Over a five-year investigation, Bradley eventually uncovered 48 victims of a rollback scheme around Kansas City, according to a grand jury indictment in a case that was recently unsealed.
Charged are 48-year-old Wilfred Albanese and his girlfriend, 47-year-old Susan Cunningham. The couple "purchased high-mileage used vehicles and then used a variety of means to alter or reduce the mileage shown on the odometer," according to the indictment. They would also disable the check engine light, conceal rust and other damage with paint and alter maintenance records, all to make the car look better to their victims.
(InvestigateTV) - There’s a hidden danger on the roads – one that’s illegal and potentially putting families at risk: rolled-back odometers.
Experts say vehicle odometers are easier than ever to roll back.
“Our research shows there are now 1.6 million cars that are on roads across the country that have an odometer rolled back, and that’s costing consumers millions of dollars,” said Chris Basso, who works with Carfax, a company that provides vehicle history reports.
In a demonstration with Carfax, an odometer on a 2006 Chevy Silverado with 230,323 miles was tampered with in less than 30 seconds. A technician with an inexpensive electronic device was able to erase nearly 100,000 miles of wear, tear and history, leaving the Silverado with 130,483 miles.
Watch the video below to see a demonstration of an odometer rollback and hear how that affects the value of a vehicle.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A former Kennett, Missouri man has been sentenced on felony mail fraud.
According to the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, Nicholas H. Brock, 36, now of Brookland, Arkansas, was sentenced to four months home confinement and five years of probation for mail fraud.
Brock was also order to pay $78,180.98 in restitution.
In his guilty plea in federal court on Nov. 5, 2018, Brock admitted to defrauding a lienholder for an over-the-road tractor trailer truck claim to the Missouri Department of Revenue that he towed a truck for a breakdown.
He claimed the truck had been abandoned and tried to get a title for the vehicle through the Department of Revenue.
Brock admitted in court that the fraud began on or about Feb. 10, 2017 and continued through or about June 13, 2017 in Dunklin County, Mo.
The case was investigated by the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Missouri State Highway Patrol and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul W. Hahn.
Jackson, Miss. – Mark Longgrear, 54, of Jackson, was sentenced today to 57 months in prison, and his son, Zachary Longgrear, 29, of Madison, was sentenced to 28 months in prison by United States District Judge Carlton W. Reeves for conspiring to reset and alter the odometers of motor vehicles, to giving or causing to be given false statements relating to odometers, and securities fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent-in-Charge Midwest Region, Kevin L. Porter with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Longgrears were also ordered to pay restitution, jointly and severally, in the amount of $1.5 million.
Used car buyers in Austin are getting ripped off in record numbers. Con artists are rolling back the mileage on odometers to make the vehicles seem more valuable. The fraud is costing victims an average of $4,000 each.
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.
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.