The Justice Department helped investigate an odometer tampering scheme in California that resulted in a year and a day prison sentence for a 63-year-old Woodland Hills man. The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles sentenced the car salesman on March 16, and he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to tamper with odometers in November 2014. The man also must pay $115,818.80 to those who unknowingly purchased vehicles with incorrect mileages on the odometers.
The car salesman worked in North Hills at Galpin Ford while referring customers and friends to a man who could roll back odometers at his home, and the salesman’s co-conspirator faces sentencing on April 13 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit odometer fraud and tampering. Those who went above the allowed mileage on their leases and those who wanted a better trade in deal on their vehicle had their mileages lowered, and the salesman accepted the vehicles with false odometer readings for return or trade in.
Odometer tampering is dangerous because the false readings could cover up safety information that future owners may need to know. Those who buy vehicles with fraudulent odometer readings also pay more than they should up front and may face more costs down the line if a vehicle needs repairs. It is estimated that consumers annually lose more than $1 billion due to odometer fraud.
The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation is a branch of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that looks into cases where odometer fraud is suspected, and one has the right to an attorney when this group or other agencies investigate a person. An attorney may be able to help one avoid or lessen jail time and fines when one faces a fraud conviction.
Source: Imperial Valley News, “California Car Salesman Sentenced to Prison for Odometer Fraud Scheme,” March 16, 2015