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Fraud Report: 62 Vehicles Seized in Odometer Fraud Investigation

December 13, 2017 0 Comments

State and local authorities in Arlington, Texas, have seized at least 62 vehicles in an investigation of odometer fraud at a used car dealership, according to detectives. So far, no arrests have been made in the case.

At-Least-62-Vehicles-Seized-in-Odometer-Fraud-Investigation

A black Honda Accord listed for sale by the Little Texas Auto Group.

Officials from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force have been tasked with investigating the Little Texas Auto Group. The investigation has been open for several weeks now.

Authorities reportedly went to two of the dealership’s locations with a search warrant and confiscated the vehicles in question. “This is still part of an open investigation,” said Jesse Minton, Arlington Detective and member of the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force, in an email.

The dealerships are still open, but officials could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Lee Randolph is a Fort Worth resident who had his car repossessed by the Little Texas Auto Group a few weeks ago. He said in a phone interview he will continue his legal battle with the group to get his vehicle back. “It comes as no surprise to me,” Randolph said of the investigation. “They need to be held accountable.”

In 2014, Randolph purchase his 2004 Honda Accord at one of the group’s dealerships. He admitted that he “didn’t know anything about buying a car” and paid for the car over several months.

Randolph later learned that he needed to check the vehicle’s service record. Upon doing so, he found that the odometer had been rolled back by over 40,000 miles. When he tried negotiating with the dealership, nothing came of it.

In a letter to Randolph from the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, the agency said it received a letter from the dealership saying the car lot had no mileage record.

Over the summer, and unbeknownst to Randolph, the Little Texas Auto Group paid off the 2004 Accord and received the title from Mid-Atlantic Finance Company, in Clearwater, Florida.

Will Johnson, general manager at Little Texas Auto Group, told the Star-Telegram that Randolph hadn’t been a responsible car owner, citing two tickets Randolph had for not having car insurance. Johnson also said the auto group offered Randolph the title if he signed a release of liability, but that Randolph had refused to sign.

In October, Randolph went to a Justice of the Peace in Arlington, claiming odometer fraud, breach of contract, and contract theft. The Justice of the Peace ruled that Little Texas Auto Group defaulted – they didn’t show in court –, and Randolph was awarded $2,800.

Several days later, the auto group repossessed Randolph’s vehicle, and Randolph received a certified letter from the group on the 13th of November, which stated, “We have your vehicle as follows: 2004 Honda Black Honda Accord because you failed to comply with the terms of our sales agreement.”

Randolph said he has another car for the time being.

In July, state and local authorities concluded a three-year investigation and shut down a major odometer fraud operation. Police arrested Kenneth Rose, 41, of Grand Prairie, Texas, and accused him of rolling back the odometers on hundreds of vehicles in Texas.

Rose is accused of having contacts with used-car dealerships in the area. His trial is pending.

Here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on how to detect odometer fraud when purchasing used vehicles from auction, etc., for your dealership:

  • Ask to see the vehicle’s title. Compare its mileage to the number on the vehicle’s odometer.
  • Compare odometer mileage with the number on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records.
  • Check if the numbers of the gauge are correctly aligned. Walk away if they’re crooked, have gaps, or jiggle when the dashboard is hit.
  • Examine the vehicle’s tires. If the odometer reads 20,000 miles or less, it should have its original tires.
  • Check the vehicle’s wear and tear. Does it seem consistent with the displayed mileage?
  • Request vehicle history report to check for discrepancies. No report? Use the VIN to get one online (e.g. CARFAX and AutoCheck).

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.

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