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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.
Original Article: http://www.fontanaheraldnews.com/news/article_b6060e62-bf91-11e4-bdaf-33e7e10ecf2b.html
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.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against a five affiliated car rental companies after receiving more than 150 complaints about service and pricing.
Horne filed the lawsuit against Saban’s Rent-A-Car LLC, DS Rentco Inc. and A-AAAble Rental Ltd. The Attorney General’s Office said those companies have been doing business as Phoenix Car Rental and Saban’s Rent a Car. The Attorney General’s Office said the companies are owned by or affiliated with Dennis N. Saban.
Calls to Phoenix Car Rental and Saban’s were answered by the same person who said the former was not affiliated with Saban and then said the latter was under new management. He declined further comment.
The Attorney General’s Office said it sent an undercover agent in to pose as a customer. The agent claims he was overcharged, denied a copy of the rental agreement and was falsely told he would be arrested if he drove outside the Phoenix area because of specially coded licenses plates.
Prosecutors also allege the car’s odometer reading was false.
“Many customers complained about this businesses failure to disclose additional fees to renters, and stated that Mr. Saban became abusive when they inquired about extra charges added at the end of the rental.” Horne said.
Original Article: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2014/03/05/arizona-attorney-general-sues-car.html
The DMV announced the arrests of two men in Fresno in connection with dozens of cases of odometer tamping.
24-year-old Murad Alrawashdeh and 20-year-old Rami Alrawashdeh and another suspect altered the vehicle certificates, rolled odometers back on the cars and then sold them on the Craigslist website.
The DMV was alerted when someone registered a car with much less mileage than had been shown on previous registrations, leading to a 10-month investigation.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the men had listed over 180 cars in a 15-month period on Craigslist.
By KMJ News
Two Fresno men have been arrested for allegedly selling cars with false odometer readings.
Investigators say 20 year old Rami Alrawashdeh and 24 year old Murad Alrawashdeh rolled back the odometer readings on more that 200 cars over a two and a half year period and sold them for a profit of $296,000 dollars.
The two men were taken into custody earlier this week and are facing charges of grand theft and vehicle odometer tampering.
Authorities are searching for a third suspect in connection with the case.
Original Article: http://www.kmjnow.com/pages/landing?blockID=695707
LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying three tech-savvy criminals wanted for a series of car burglaries in which they used an unknown device to gain keyless entry to vehicles.
The men are accused of breaking into seven vehicles in an East Long Beach neighborhood on the night of Feb. 26, according to Long Beach police.
The suspects were caught on surveillance using small handled devices that caused “the vehicle’s dome light to come on and doors to unlock,” Det. Joseph Starbird said in a news release.
Think that odometer fraud is a crime of the past? Digital odometers were supposed to make altering a car’s mileage harder. And they did – for a while. But new gadgets for turning back odometers are now available on the internet — and shockingly easy to use.
An eye-opening undercover investigative report by CBS channel 2 in Los Angeles shows how it’s done — in a scam that has attracted the attention of authorities.
“CBS 2 investigation uncovers odometer fraud possibly affecting thousands of consumers”
Odometer fraud remains a serious crime in the U.S., robbing consumers who pay thousands more than a car is really worth. Plus they face costly repairs they didn’t anticipate. Adding insult to injury, warranties are usually void on vehicles with altered odometers. So even if you buy a car that was sold with a warranty, you may be stuck paying out of pocket for repairs.
How can you avoid odometer fraud? Vehicle history reports don’t always capture mileage discrepancies. So be sure to get a reliable auto mechanic to thoroughly inspect any used car you’re interested in buying, before you agree to anything. An altered odometer may register a trouble code that a qualified mechanic can detect, using specialized diagnostic equipment. Also insist on seeing all the work orders for past repairs, and contact the repair shop to confirm the mileage.
The average mileage for most cars is around 12,000 a year. Be especially suspicious when sellers claim a car has significantly lower mileage.
Original article: http://carconsumers.org/blog/2012/06/06/buyer-beware-odometer-fraud-on-the-rise/
Four Sentenced in Federal Court in Odometer Fraud- Craigslist Crime Ring
- Investigation conducted by USDOT-NHTSA, Seattle PD, IRS-CID, WA Dept. Licensing
- Prosecution by USDOJ Consumer Protection Branch and United States Attorney Office-Seattle WA