Maine couple stuck with a lemon of a vehicle – and now they know why

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.

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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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‘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

Used car dealership caught selling cars with modified odometers

SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. —

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.

Original Article: http://www.wisn.com/article/used-car-dealership-caught-selling-cars-with-modified-odometers/10217156

Police make arrests in months-long odometer-tampering scheme

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."

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Massachusetts State police warn of vehicle odometer rollback scam

The Massachusetts State Police, in conjunction with the Missouri Highway Patrol have been investigating a series of consumer frauds, related to the purchase and subsequent sale of motor vehicles by a man and woman residing in Connecticut and the Kansas City Metropolitan area.

The couple purchases a vehicle, typically from the Craigslist internet auction site. The vehicle’s mileage reading is altered and the vehicle is placed back on Craigslist. The two suspects pose as the previous owners of the vehicle. The investigation revealed approximately 48 vehicle purchases/sales within the past year in the Kansas City Missouri area and an undetermined number of vehicles sold in the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is possible not all the transactions involve an odometer rollback. Investigators are seeking to discuss these transactions with the sellers and purchasers of these vehicles. There has been no indication of impropriety on behalf of the sellers or purchasers, and investigators are still trying to determine the potential number of victims.

The suspects do not use their names during, and typically use disposable pay-as-you-go cell phones. The man is approximately 5’9”, medium build, and has an “East Coast” accent. If present, the woman typically stays in a green Nissan Quest minivan with their children while the transactions are conducted.

If you or someone you know has purchased a vehicle from these individuals please contact Massachusetts State Police Compliance Unit Trooper Stephen Walker, at 857-368-8626.

Original Article: https://www.newbedfordguide.com/massachusetts-state-police-warn-of-vehicle-odometer-rollback-scam/2017/06/01

Georgia Dealer and Title Clerk Sentenced in Odometer Fraud Scheme

Department of Justice

Two Georgia residents were sentenced in Atlanta, Georgia today for their roles in a conspiracy to alter odometers of used motor vehicles, the Justice Department announced.

Rojen Burnett, 35, of Conyers, Georgia, and Amber McLaughlin, 33, of Duluth, Georgia, each were sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.

Burnett owned and operated Lifestyle Auto Broker LLC, a Georgia corporation that bought and sold used motor vehicles; McLaughlin was a former customer service specialist at the Motor Vehicle Department of the Georgia Department of Revenue. In 2012 and 2013, Burnett bought high-mileage used motor vehicles, altered the mileage on the titles, rolled-back the odometers, obtained new titles with false low mileages, and sold the vehicles to unsuspecting dealers. The dealers, in turn, sold them to consumers. McLaughlin helped Burnett commit odometer fraud by fraudulently issuing new Georgia titles with false low mileages in exchange for cash.

“Buying a car or truck is one of the biggest financial decisions that consumers make,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Odometer fraudsters victimize consumers by making them pay substantially more for a used car that is less safe and less reliable than the consumer wanted or needed. The Justice Department will hold these fraudsters accountable for their crimes.”+

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Piqua man sentenced in odometer scam

Scott Carnes Jr.

A Piqua man convicted with three others in a scheme in which vehicle odometers were turned back before they were sold was sentenced Monday, Aug. 22, to 18 months in prison.

Scott Carnes Jr. ,32, was convicted in Miami County Common Pleas Court of felony charges of tampering with records, tampering with odometers and transferring a motor vehicle with a tampered or nonfunctioning odometer.

Prosecutors said the four men allegedly altered odometers and tampered with titles of used vehicles sold at two Piqua auto dealerships between May 2011 and November 2013. Prosecutors said they worked at Mills Auto Sales on South Street and A Auto Sales on Clark Avenue, both in Piqua.

Carnes’ lawyer, Robert Huffman Jr., said he had no prior felony convictions and had cooperated with investigators. Carnes asked the judge for probation saying he took responsibility for his actions.

Judge Christopher Gee said the men’s actions had a significant impact on people who couldn’t afford to pay much for a car. The men, he said, “were stealing their money for a basically worthless car.”

Two other defendants already before the judge received sentences of 18 months and nine months in prison. The last defendant is scheduled for sentencing next week

Victims of alleged auto title fraud and rollbacks reimbursed by district attorney’s office

Many victims of JD’s Auto Sales were reimbursed Thursday morning. Customers were victims of alleged odometer rollback and title fraud. The car lot was shutdown and the owners were arrested Nov. 13, 2014. (Staff Photo: Kayla Langmaid)

Many victims of JD’s Auto Sales were reimbursed Thursday morning. Customers were victims of alleged odometer rollback and title fraud. The car lot was shutdown and the owners were arrested Nov. 13, 2014. (Staff Photo: Kayla Langmaid)

JONESBORO — Nearly two years after a Forest Park dealership was raided and the owners were arrested for multiple violations, the Clayton County District Attorney’s office is working to reimburse at least 90 victims who were affected by an alleged scam at the hands of the owners.

Customers who fell victims to a purported scheme by JD’s Auto Sales on Jonesboro Road were given the opportunity to get some of their money back Thursday, thanks to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson presented 68 victims with a check for $1,250 Thursday morning at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center. The remaining victims will be mailed a check.

Owner of JD’s Auto Sales, John Emumwen Egbe and his son, Sylvester Emumwen Egbe, were arrested during a raid Nov. 13, 2014. The two men face charges of certificate of title violations and false swearing due to a large number of odometer rollbacks and title fraud.

The 130-car lot was raided by officers with Georgia Department of Revenue, Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Forest Park Police Department and Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.

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