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.
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.
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
The Philomath Police Department culminated a five-month investigation Wednesday morning with the arrests of three men in connection with alleged odometer tampering through an auto sales operation.
Cody Kin Marten, 21, of Philomath, faces four counts each for unlawful tampering with an odometer, theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft — all felonies. Jeffrey Lynn Watters, 27, of Corvallis, and London Rae Fields, 22, of Corvallis, were cited for felony unlawful tampering with an odometer.
"We have seized over a hundred titles and sales documents from the suspects and in the coming weeks, we are going to put out on the Philomath website, vehicles and license plate numbers that we know were sold by these individuals," Philomath Chief of Police Ken Rueben said. "We are hoping to have victims contact us and verify what their vehicle was and what the odometer reading was on those cars."
BREMERTON, Wash. -- Three brothers are accused of ripping off dozens of car buyers in Bremerton by rolling back odometers to sell the vehicles at a higher price.
Bremerton Police arrested two of the brothers on Wednesday then served warrants at two Navy Yard City properties located in the 3700 block of Madrona Street and the 3700 block of C Street, where the vehicles were stored. During the search, detectives impounded at least three vehicles that were not registered to the properties.
"Unfortunately, most of (the victims) didn't know they'd been taken advantage of until I contacted them," said Bremerton Police Det. Martin Garland.
The organized crime investigation started in January 2014 after a victim found a repair invoice in a vehicle that was purchased from the suspects. The victim noticed the mileage didn't look right, checked the car's history on CarFax, and determined the mileage was incorrect.
Bremerton Police said the brothers purchased the cars on Craigslist then resold them at higher costs after rolling back the odometers, which would make it appear the cars didn't have as many miles so the suspects could get more money.
A man who was once a top salesman at a San Fernando Valley car dealership was sentenced Monday to a year in federal prison for conspiring to roll back vehicle odometers in a scheme in which people paid up to $400 to avoid penalties for exceeding mileage limits on leases or to increase auto trade-in values.
Jeffrey Levy, a former salesman at Galpin Ford in North Hills, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon getting out of prison and to pay restitution of about $115,800 to the owners of 21 cars with altered odometers.
U.S. District Judge George H. King ordered that $35,000 of the amount be paid immediately.
The judge also prohibited the 62-year-old Woodland Hills resident from employment related to the purchase, sale, leasing, or financing of new or used motor vehicles during the period of supervised release and ordered him to undergo treatment for mental health issues and a gambling addiction.
CBS2 Investigative Reporter David Goldstein first confronted Shamai Salpeter (right) and uncovered the odometer fraud scheme in 2012. (CBS)
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former San Fernando Valley car salesman was sentenced Monday to a year in federal prison for rolling back odometers for people who exceeded mileage limits on their leases.
Jeffrey Levy, 62, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon getting out of prison and to pay restitution of about $115,800 to the owners of 21 cars with altered odometers.
U.S. District Judge George H. King ordered that $35,000 of the amount be paid immediately.
Levy was also prohibited from employment related to the purchase, sale, leasing, or financing of new or used motor vehicles during the period of supervised release and ordered him to undergo treatment for mental health issues and a gambling addiction.
A total of 28 suspects were arrested throughout Southern California on Feb. 26 during a multi-agency investigation into a large-scale vehicle theft operation, according to California Highway Patrol.
The investigation was spearheaded by the CHP Border Division's Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (O.C.A.T.T.), along with the Ontario Police Department and more than 15 other state and local agencies from four counties.
Suspects who were wanted for vehicle theft, identity theft, credit card and insurance fraud were arrested in various cities.
The operation “Hogg Life” developed after an extensive investigation in which O.C.A.T.T. investigators identified 47 suspects, 125 stolen vehicles and several local businesses from information stemming from a traffic enforcement stop by the Ontario P.D.
The investigation involved the fraudulent removal of lien holders (legal owners) from the vehicles' titles, commonly known as “Title Washing.” These vehicles were then utilized to commit various additional crimes throughout Southern California. The coordination of resources from numerous multi-jurisdictional task forces and agencies resulted in 103 vehicles being recovered or accounted for.
In addition, as a result of the operation, three weapons were seized and 18 additional vehicles were identified as either possibly stolen, vin-switched or fraudulently purchased.
An NBC 5 Consumer Investigation on odometer fraud prompts one division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to recommend consumer-friendly changes to state law governing salvage dealers.
These changes would protect consumers by giving the state tougher tools of enforcement against would-be violators.
This potential change stems from a case against a DFW-area salvage dealer which wound up in small claims court then in the hands of the DMV.
It started last year when Kristin and Ferron Young turned to Craig’s List when they needed a car on a tight budget.
"We needed something that we felt like would be good for the family,” Kristin Young, mother of a kindergartener and a newborn, said.
They found an ad for a 2000 Honda Accord, which described the car as very clean with 101,000 miles. After seeing the car, they bought it for $3,200.
“We ended up choosing the one that we bought because it had lower mileage,” said Young. The seller, salvage dealer Michael Eke, also had assurances. He said the car had been cared for and had only been in a little crash. But on the drive home they said they noticed problems immediately.
The next day, the Youngs bought a CARFAX report, which revealed at the car’s last state inspection it had 160,000 miles.
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.