8 from St. Louis area sentenced for vehicle title fraud ring

ST. LOUIS • Eight St. Louis-area men and women have been sentenced for their involvement in a ring that altered vehicle documents to obtain loans, prosecutors said Thursday.

The ring altered documents to remove lienholders before selling the vehicles or to obtain new loans, prosecutors said. They also reduced the value of the vehicles on documents or changed the state of residence of owners to dodge taxes and license fees, they said.

Federal, state and local investigators were able to document $311,000 in losses due to the scheme, but estimate that the true loss amount approached $1 million.

The eight defendants received prison terms ranging from probation to more than 11 years in prison.

The final defendant in the case, Justin Carter, 22, of St. Louis, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison. The leader, Randall Hinton, 33, of St. Louis was sentenced Aug. 11 to 11 years, four months in prison, prosecutors said.

Original Article: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/from-st-louis-area-sentenced-for-vehicle-title-fraud-ring/article_caf48294-7e55-5095-9ab7-c77e17635956.html 

Two accused of car scam

Two accused of car scam

Two accused of car scam

Two men are accused of running a car racket in which they sold second-hand vehicles with false odometer readings.

Police allege the men bought 20 vehicles with high kilometre readings on sales websites this year.

They then allegedly bought car parts, including odometers with lower readings, from wreckers and swapped them into the vehicles before selling them to unsuspecting buyers.

The men also allegedly changed log book records to match the modifications and removed service stickers from vehicles.

By wiping off thousands of kilometres, the vehicles appeared newer and worth more, police claim.

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Bremerton cops nab 2 in odometer-rollback scam, 1 at large

BREMERTON, Wash. -- Three brothers are accused of ripping off dozens of car buyers in Bremerton by rolling back odometers to sell the vehicles at a higher price.

Bremerton Police arrested two of the brothers on Wednesday then served warrants at two Navy Yard City properties located in the 3700 block of Madrona Street and the 3700 block of C Street, where the vehicles were stored. During the search, detectives impounded at least three vehicles that were not registered to the properties.

"Unfortunately, most of (the victims) didn't know they'd been taken advantage of until I contacted them," said Bremerton Police Det. Martin Garland.

The organized crime investigation started in January 2014 after a victim found a repair invoice in a vehicle that was purchased from the suspects. The victim noticed the mileage didn't look right, checked the car's history on CarFax, and determined the mileage was incorrect.

Bremerton Police said the brothers purchased the cars on Craigslist then resold them at higher costs after rolling back the odometers, which would make it appear the cars didn't have as many miles so the suspects could get more money.

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Eye on Scams: odometer fraud

used-cars

Almost everyone has shopped for a used car and buying a used vehicle is always a big deal for most consumers. Savvy buyers spend days or weeks searching for the right vehicle at the right price to fit their needs.

When shopping for a used vehicle and during the buying process, a major consideration is the mileage on the pre-owned vehicle. Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana offers advice to help consumers ensure they are not taken by odometer fraud.

BBB alerts consumers that one in 10 American vehicles has a tampered or “rolled back” odometer, according to the Consumer Federation of America. According to Car Fax, a BBB Accredited Business, odometer fraud is one of the oldest automotive scams and the introduction of digital odometers has done nothing to halt it.

BBB offers the following tips to help consumers detect odometer fraud when purchasing a used vehicle:

  • Always check with BBB first.
  • Compare the mileage
  • Inspect the vehicle
  • Hire an expert to inspect

If you realize that you have bought a car with a rolled back odometer, report it to the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General at: http://www.ag.state.la.us/Article.aspx?articleID=37&catID=0 .

Original Article: http://klfy.com/2015/05/11/eye-on-scams-used-cars/

Couple accused of running a chop shop

David Bernando Cruz

David Bernando Cruz

Joselyn Cruz

Joselyn Cruz

TAVARES — A two-county investigation has shut down an Astatula chop shop whose operators are accused of dealing in stolen cars from three states, authorities said.

David Bernando Cruz, 30, and his wife, Joselyn Cruz, 31, were charged with operating a chop shop. David Cruz has been released from the Lake County Jail after posting a $50,000 bond. Joselyn Cruz was jailed in Osceola County on the same bail.

Lake County detectives began investigating the two after receiving information from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office regarding the couple having a large amount of vehicles to sell and looking for a place to get rid of them.

The couple allegedly stole vehicles throughout Florida, as well as in Alabama and Georgia, with a tow truck they owned. They reportedly rolled back the mileage and covered up any damage to the vehicles.

It also was alleged that David Cruz would get vehicles from owners who couldn’t make their car payments under an agreement that he would assume the payments. He then allegedly hid those vehicles from repossession companies until he could obtain fraudulent titles on the vehicles and resell them.

Lake County sheriff’s detectives eventually learned of a warehouse at 14200 Corkwood Lane in Astatula,where the couple had allegedly been hiding vehicles.

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Woodland Hills man will go to jail for odometer tampering

Photo via Pixabay

Photo via Pixabay

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.

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USDOJ Press Release: Conspiracy Odometer Fraud Conviction/ Sentencing

Department of Justice

Monday, March 16, 2015 Car Salesman Sentenced to Prison for Odometer Fraud Scheme

A car salesman was sentenced earlier today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to serve one year and one day in prison on charges related to an odometer tampering scheme, the Justice Department announced.

Jeffrey Levy, 63, of Woodland Hills, California, was also ordered to pay $115,818.80 in restitution to victims who purchased vehicles without knowing the odometers displayed incorrect mileages.  In November 2014, Levy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to tamper with odometers.

“A car salesman should know better than anyone that odometer tampering is a fraud and a crime,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “As this prosecution demonstrates, criminals with an electronic tool can easily alter electronic vehicle odometers, defrauding future car buyers.”

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Ex-North Hills Car Salesman Gets Prison In Odometer Fraud Scheme

CBS2 Investigative Reporter David Goldstein first confronted Shamai Salpeter (right) and uncovered the odometer fraud scheme in 2012. (CBS)

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.

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Authorities arrest 28 suspects in connection with vehicle theft operation

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