A car dealership owner in the USA has been caught and jailed for 5 years for odometer tampering. The owner of the dealership has also been fined close to USD 4 million in restitution. That’s about 30 crore rupees in Indian currency.
The U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to 60 months imprisonment for his role in a long-running odometer and money laundering case. The defendant pleaded guilty in August 2020 to conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit odometer tampering, making false odometer statements and securities fraud.
According to Justice.org, this is what the judge said,
“An automobile is one of the biggest purchases many consumers make,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Misrepresenting used car mileages defrauds buyers and hides important information concerning safety and reliability. The Department of Justice will continue to work with law enforcement partners to prosecute odometer fraud.”
“This sentence sends a warning that this office will prosecute those who engage in odometer tampering and deliberately dupe consumers into unknowingly paying inflated prices for their motor vehicles,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis for the Eastern District of New York. “With the defendant being sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution to his victims, he is being held to account for his greed in contriving this fraudulent scheme.”
Around 700 vehicles tampered
Shmuel Gali and his brother Chaim have defrauded buyers of used cars by misinterpreting the reading. Between 2006 and 2011, they tampered with about 690 vehicles. The duo used fictitious dealership names to purchase vehicles with the high odometer reading, used vehicles from the national vehicle-leasing company and then altered the reading of the vehicles to sell them with lower readings. They sold the vehicles at retail dealerships.
In most cases, the readings were turned back by 70,000 miles or about 1.12 lakh km, which sure is a big number. The customers who purchased the vehicles did not know the true reading and bought the vehicles at inflated prices.
Odometer tampering in India
Such practices are widely done in India too. However, there is no such strict law to address the problem in the country. In India, only a case of cheating can be registered against the scammers who turn back the reading of odometers.
The Indian used car market is rising at a fast pace and the market size is also increasing. Such scams are likely happening here but are waiting to be unearthed. There are many other kinds of scams in the used car market including hiding major accidents by repairing the body in the best way possible.
You can always look for the signs of odometer tampering in the cars by closely looking at the service records before making a buying decision.