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Car dealer who fraudulently sold cars damaged in Hurricane Sandy gets 3 years in prison

TRENTON — A Middlesex County car dealer who used fraudulent vehicle titles to sell cars damaged during Hurricane Sandy was sentenced today to three years in state prison, state authorities said. Jonathan Olin, 42, of Manalapan, for former operator of D&D Auto Sales in Old Bridge, admitted in August that he obtained fraudulent “clean” titles for eight vehicles, seven of which were sold to unsuspecting customers by Pinky N Brain Corp., doing business as D&D. One of his associates, Jessie Dinome, 30, of Jackson, a former employee at the Freehold Motor Vehicle Agency, accessed state computers to create the false titles, the state Attorney General’s Office said. Dinome was sentenced to probation in October. The seven vehicles were sold for a total of about $86,000, authorities said. Olin pleaded guilty to theft by deception and was ordered to pay full restitution to the victims. A third person, Jacob Douek, 40, of Staten Island, N.Y., still faces charges in the scheme. The case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the state Motor Vehicle Commission after receiving information from the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program and ABC News, which investigated how flooded vehicles ended up on car lots. Original Article: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/12/car_dealer_who_fraudulently_sold_cars

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Police: (PA)Nanticoke man altered odometer, title of car he tried to sell

KINGSTON — A Nanticoke man faces multiple charges after he allegedly altered the odometer and title of a car he sold to a Kingston man. State police at Wyoming say Terry Matthew Panetta, 33, acquired a silver Ford Mustang and the title to the vehicle in September 2013, then disassembled the instrument cluster and altered the odometer by “blacking out” digits with a black marker. Panetta then altered the vehicle title to indicate that the vehicle had less mileage than the actual mileage recorded, and then offered the car for sale on the Craigslist website, police said. A 21-year-old man from Kingston responded to the ad, met with Panetta to see the vehicle at a location on Pringle Street in Kingston and arranged to buy the car from Panetta, according to police. After the vehicle sale, the odometer discrepancy was discovered and the Kingston man, whom police did not identify, contacted state police. Following an investigation, police on Tuesday charged Panetta with felony counts of forgery, tampering with public records or information, changing an odometer reading and washing a vehicle title, a misdemeanor count of theft by deception/false impression and a summary count of improper transfer of ownership. Panetta was…

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(Calgary) Dozens of victims caught in odometer roll back scam

A Calgary man is facing charges in connection to a vehicle odometer roll back scam that defrauded more than 50 people. The Economic Crimes Unit was notified in January by a credit card company that a number of skimmed cards were being used for fraudulent purchases in Calgary. Police say the cards were being used to service vehicles and purchase vehicle parts and that the vehicles being serviced, were purchased at an auction house. Investigators say that the vehicles had high kilometres but they had been rolled back between purchase from the auction house and attempting to sell them online. “Investigation by the constables revealed that the offender was purchasing vehicles from the auction house at which time he would take those vehicles and have small repairs doe to them, maybe tune ups etc., change some parts out and take them to auto repair facilities where we believe that the odometers were rolled back. He would then list those vehicles on kijiji, Craig’s List, and the Auto Trader for sale and individuals would then come into negotiation with him to purchase those vehicles,” said S/Sgt. Kristie Verheul from the Economic Crimes Unit. They say that in one case, approximately 208,000…

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Odometer Fraud Case May Lead to Stiffer Penalties for Some Offenders

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…

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(Grand Rapids) Target 8: Odometer rollback revealed

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Marc Libants was attached to his old Honda Civic. He even refers to the 1997 four-door as a ‘she.’ He said it wasn’t easy giving her up, but he had no need for the old car anymore, so he sold it. Two days later, he spotted the Civic up for sale online. He knew it was his because it was missing the Honda insignia due to a previous incident. It also listed the phone number of the person to whom he had sold the car. “I got a little suspicious and as I read the ad, it said that the car had 127,000 miles on it and that kind of made some alarm bells go off,” said Libants. He said that wouldn’t be possible “unless he drove it in reverse for a long, long ways.” Target 8 has warned consumers about people rolling back odometers so they can jack up the price of old cars.

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(Raleigh) Man accused of rolling back car odometers

A Raleigh man is accused of rolling back odometers on 20 cars and selling 15 of them. Flavio Oliveira, 39, faced a judge for the first time Wednesday afternoon on those charges and one more – not having a car dealer’s license.

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1 Million Used Cars Are Hiding A Terrible Secret

Just because a used car is cheap and seems OK during a test drive doesn’t mean it’s safe to buy. Criminals have devised ways to artfully conceal structural damage on used cars, allowing vehicles to be sold for a profit even though they may have been shoddily rebuilt after an accident or submerged in ocean water during a hurricane. When insurance companies write off a vehicle as a “total loss” after an accident or other event like a flood or hail storm, the law in most states requires the vehicle’s title of ownership to be given a “brand.” That brand permanently marks the car as damaged goods to all potential future owners, but there are ways for it to be washed away. In the old days, it was done with chemicals. Now, photo editing software and digital scanners are used to print new titles. Or, cars can simply be re-registered in different states until the brand falls away. Because there is no national titling law, incongruous state laws create opportunities for scammers to “title wash” wrecked cars, making them appear undamaged. Not only are consumers being ripped off, but they’re also putting themselves and others in danger when they unknowingly…

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[CA] Fraudsters using Internet to bait high-end car buyers

Online fraudsters are going upscale and targeting unsuspecting buyers of newer-model and luxury cars, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council warned Friday. “This represents a change in strategy by curbsiders and fraudsters,” said Terry O’Keefe, spokesman for OMVIC.  “Curbsiders, unlicensed dealers who usually pose as private sellers, used to target buyers of inexpensive economy vehicles. Now,  we’re seeing a shift towards newer and high-end vehicles such as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and even newer-model pick-ups, which command higher prices and higher profit margins. Unfortunately, just as curbsiders commonly misrepresent themselves, they also misrepresent the vehicles they sell, which are often insurance write-offs, accident-damaged or odometer-tampered.” O’Keefe also said he knows of sixOntarioresidents who lost a total of about $250,000 to phoney websites claiming to selling luxury cars such as Ferraris and Corvettes. Car buyers have to be doubly vigilant: lurking in online classifieds are not only curbsiders, but out-right fraud artists operating fictitious dealerships supposedly based in the U.S, said O’Keefe.  These two trends are converging when it comes to car-buying rip-offs, he said. Residents of border cities, such asWindsor, need to be extra careful as they are accustomed to shopping across the border, said O’Keefe.

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Top 10 consumer complaints

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Shady auto dealers, shoddy construction work and incessant debt collectors were once again among the most common targets of consumer gripes last year. Towing disputes and feuds between landlords and tenants were the two fasting growing complaints, while mortgage assistance scams and door-to-door meat sales were new problems on the list, according to the Consumer Federation of America’s annual report. The list, released Wednesday, is the result of survey responses from 40 state and local consumer protection agencies in 20 states. The complaints come as budget cuts and limited resources continue to squeeze the agencies, which fielded more than 350,000 complaints collectively last year, according to the report. “Whether it’s an offer on the Internet or meat being sold door-to-door out of the back of a truck, consumers need to be careful in today’s marketplace,” Amber Capoun, president of the North American Consumer Protection Investigators which helped conduct the survey, said in a statement. Related: Sneaky credit card charges can cost you hundreds 1. Auto Issues with auto sales once again topped the list. Car shoppers reported misleading advertising for new and used cars, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes and getting suckered into buying lemons. One California consumer noticed…

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With Smarter Cars, The Doors Are Open To Hacking Dangers

Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller have been hacking into products for a long time. But they don’t steal stuff or mess with people; instead, their purpose is to pressure companies into making their products more secure. This week, they scored big. Their research on hacking cars has captured the attention of millions and has been featured in Forbes and on the Today show. Miller and Valasek are not the first guys to hack a car, but they demonstrated like few have before just how dangerous these kinds of attacks could be. “That’s really where Charlie and I came in,” says Valasek, a security researcher at IOActive. “We really wanted to see, once someone was inside your car network, to what extent could you control the automobile?” The pair got a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and bought two modern, connected cars: a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape. Then they tapped into the network of little built-in computers that run on virtually every car sold today. Car makers began embedding electronic control units, or ECUs, in cars more than 30 years ago. These simple little computers were developed during the first gas crisis. Initially, they were used as tiny computerized carburetors.…

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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.