Feds Charge Pair with Sales of 247 Mileage Tampered Cars

300px-Jeep_OdometerAccording to Federal prosecutors, from as early as 2004 and through at least 2010, Kyle Novitsky, 45, and Judith Aloe, 52, both of North Miami Beach, FL, purchased high-mileage, used motor vehicles in Florida, California and elsewhere from a national vehicle leasing company.  Thereafter, Novitsky and Aloe allegedly altered the motor vehicle titles and sales documentation associated with these vehicles to reflect lower mileage, and, relying upon such fraudulent certifications, the Commonwealth ofPennsylvania issued motor vehicle titles reflecting the false mileage.

On January 17, 2013, a federal grand jury in Philadelphia unsealed an indictment charging Novitsky abd Aloe with making false odometer statements, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit these offenses. Novitsky and Aloe are charged with selling 247 motor vehicles — some with mileage fraudulently understated by over 100,000 miles — at wholesale automobile auctions in Manheim, PA, and elsewhere, and providing Pennsylvania titles that the defendants knew were issued based upon fraudulent lower mileage.

Note: Charges in an Indictment are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Protection Litigation offers an online resource about Odometer Tampering and also offers this helpful consumer checklist:

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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 arraigned before District Judge James Roberts and released on $25,000 unsecured bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 before Roberts.

Original Article: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50452291/

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

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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 kilometres were rolled back.

The suspect in the case purchased 54 vehicles over three years.

Andriy Plysiun, 28, of Calgary, faces one count of fraud over $5,000.

Police estimate the value of fraud is $300,000 and say that number is likely to increase as more victims are identified.

Original Article : http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/dozens-of-victims-caught-in-odometer-roll-back-scam-1.2031958#ixzz3Krf3Hg5L

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 bought a CARFAX report, which revealed at the car’s last state inspection it had 160,000 miles.

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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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1 Million Used Cars Are Hiding A Terrible Secret

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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 drive a salvaged car on U.S. highways.

The scam appears to happen on a large scale: According to the vehicle history provider CarFax, 800,000 cars in the U.S. — including at least 500 taxis — have been “title washed” to conceal their troubled histories.

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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 Cars Unlimited) at auto auctions, the vehicle titles he received showed each vehicle’s actual mileage. After purchasing a vehicle, Smith allegedly submitted an “Application for Missouri Title and License” seeking a replacement title for the vehicle. Although he sought a replacement title, the indictment says, he in fact possessed the original title for the vehicle.

In each of those instances, Smith allegedly forged the signatures of the previous owner of the vehicle. The state of Missouri prepared a replacement title that was mailed to Smith at Cars Unlimited.

The federal indictment charges Smith with seven counts of mail fraud.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Milligan. It was investigated by the FBI and the Missouri Department of Revenue.

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

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