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Storm Surge: Beware of Title-Washed Cars

Shopping for a used car in Mississippi? Beware of title washing. The Magnolia State has the highest density of title-washed cars in the country, with 1 in every 44.6 used cars bearing a washed title, a Cars.com analysis has found. That’s well above the national average of 1 in 324.9 used cars. New Jersey, meanwhile, has the second-highest rate: 1 in 87 cars. Related: How to Know if You’re Buying a Flood-Damaged Car Why? In a word, hurricanes. Nearly a decade ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left 600,000 flood-damaged cars across the Gulf States. And in 2012, Hurricane Sandy reportedly left more than 200,000 storm-damaged cars in New Jersey and New York. Salvage titles, or titles for cars that were retitled after they were written off as total losses by insurance companies, proliferated after all three storms. Title washing also surged, where sellers alter vehicle titles to hide their salvage status and sell the cars as regular used vehicles. To do this, sellers often send those cars through states with looser title laws. By contrast, used-car shoppers in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania have less to worry about. Just 1 in 2,127 used cars in Ohio has a washed title. Florida…

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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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Lebanon Car Dealer Indicted For Fraudulent Titles, Falsified Mileage On Dozens Of Vehicles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 5, 2014 SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Lebanon, Mo., automobile dealer has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a mail fraud scheme in which he sold dozens of vehicles with fraudulent titles that greatly underreported the actual mileage of the vehicles. Kenneth W. Smith, 60, of Lebanon, was charged in a seven-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Aug. 26, 2014. That indictment has been unsealed and made public upon Smith’s arrest and initial court appearance. Smith operates Cars Unlimited in Lebanon. According to today’s indictment, Smith obtained fraudulent replacement titles for dozens of vehicles that were sold by Cars Unlimited between February 2010 and Nov. 7, 2011. Smith (operating through Cars Unlimited) allegedly applied for and received 54 replacement titles from the state of Missouri, each of which underreported the vehicle’s actual mileage between 95,000 and 209,000 miles. Smith allegedly resold these 54 vehicles at auto auctions using the fraudulent replacement titles. These 54 vehicles were sold for an aggregate total of approximately $346,450. Beginning in February 2010, when Smith purchased vehicles (through…

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Five men charged for allegedly winding back odometers in used cars

FIVE men accused of winding back the odometers in high-end second-hand cars which they planned to offer for sale have been ordered to appear in court in June. Serious Crime Task Force officers arrested the men after raids on six Adelaide properties, where 23 cars — including four Mercedes, four BMWs, four Holdens, three Toyotas, a Range Rover and a Volvo — computer equipment, odometer manipulation equipment and cash were seized. Five firearms and ammunition were also claimed by police in a joint investigation with Consumer and Business Services officers, which began in February. A 22-year-old man, of Colonel Light Gardens, a Kingswood man, 63, a Prospect, man, 66, a Greenwith man, 66, and a Parafield Gardens man, 65, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud and participating in a criminal organisation. Police have laid 20 charges but said the inquiry was continuing. Further charges are expected. The men were granted police bail to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on June 27. Police say the investigation uncovered odometer tampering offences by licensed and unlicensed used car dealers.

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Arizona Attorney General sues car rental companies over fraud complaints

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…

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Patrick Wayne Davis booked in Knox County on odometer fraud and identity theft charges

CHATTANOOGA, TN — Following an investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Patrick Wayne Davis was arrested for odometer fraud, identity theft, and felony theft on Tuesday, March 11 in Knoxville. Davis allegedly altered the odometer of a 2004 Honda Accord over 120,000 miles. He then fraudulently advertised the vehicle on “Craigslist “as a low mileage vehicle and subsequently sold it at a much higher price. This case stemmed from a complaint taken by the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office in Cleveland, Tenn. Bradley County then requested the assistance of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. THP Sergeant Thomas Clower, working with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, was able to identify Davis as a suspect in their initial investigation. They discovered that Davis illegally acted as the original owner of the Honda by taking the name of a man from Michigan. Agents with the Highway Patrol’s CID also located physical evidence in the Honda Accord. On Thursday, March 13, Sergeant Clower and THP Interdiction Plus Sergeant Greg Roberts located Mr. Davis in Knoxville. Davis was arrested on odometer fraud, theft between $1,000 to $10,000 and identity theft. He was booked in the Knox County Jail. A court date will be…

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[CA] Insurance fraud mastermind sent to jail for 4 years

It’s believed Manitoba Public Insurance was defrauded of more than $800,000. A man considered the mastermind of the largest defrauding of Manitoba Public Insurance in history is going to jail. Quincy Adurogboye, 33, ofWinnipeg, pleaded guilty and was convicted of eight counts of fraud in what police called Project Rollback in 2009. Wednesday, a judge sentenced him to four years behind bars and ordered him to pay back $150,000 to MPI, only a portion of what he fraudulently received from the corporation. About 40 people were arrested and charged for their involvement in an elaborate scheme to defraud the insurance company by rolling back the odometer readings of recently purchased vehicles, staging collisions inWinnipegand then reporting the vehicles as stolen. It’s believed the scheme cost MPI more than $800,000. “This crime is extraordinary,” said Justice Chris Martin. Martin also sentenced Norm Beardy, 44, to an 18-month conditional sentence to be served in the community and 150 hours of community service. Beardy was ordered to pay back $8,000 to MPI, only 10 per cent of the amount he was involved in scamming. Original Article: http://globalnews.ca/news/892250/insurance-fraud-mastermind-sent-to-jail-for-4-years/

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[UK] Trainee solicitor guilty of car clocking fraud

A trainee solicitor has been found guilty of being part of a car clocking ring which generated thousands of pounds. Karmjit Sohal, aged 24, allowed thousands of pounds in cash to pass through her bank account to trade vehicles in the racket which also involved her brother Inderjit Singh Sohal and a cousin called Jatinder Sandher. The operation was based at Enzo Motors, inGreat Bridge Street, WestBromwich, and Netherton Motors, inHalesowen Road, Netherton. Vehicles were bought and sold days later with thousands of pounds added to the price and up to 144,000-miles removed from the odometer reading between December 2009 and February 2011, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard. Sohal had claimed she was ‘too busy studying law’ to be involved but jurors unanimously found her guilty after spending just under an hour and a half deliberating at the end of a four day trial yesterday afternoon. The jury of nine women and three men returned guilt verdicts on two charges of conspiracy to defraud. Judge Mark Eades asked the jury to deliver a verdict of not guilty on a third charge of converting criminal property after prosecutors offered no evidence. Inderjit Singh Sohal and Jatinder Sandher along with two others, Sundeep…

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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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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.