Surveillance Busts Odometer Tampering Scheme
Cameras are used for a wide variety of monitoring applications to enhance safety, but they can also provide critical data for authorities investigating criminal activity. This is exactly what happened when police in Woodland Hills, California got a tip that a man was tampering with the odometer readings in some vehicles in order to save people money on their auto leases. Unfortunately, the lucrative task was also an illegal one and investigators were able to make an arrest based on information they gathered from a hidden camera system.
Jeffrey Levy was a man in his 60s who worked as a sales associate for a car dealership. What he is accused of doing is rolling back the odometer readings on vehicles for as much as $400 per client in a scheme that allowed people leasing vehicles to avoid paying penalties for driving vehicles too much. This process not only defrauded the dealership owners and future car owners but also lead to falsified trade-in values. Authorities stated that this scheme was going on for roughly three years.
The U.S. Justice Department is on record that engaging in odometer tampering can result in over 1,000 days of jail time and 7 figure fines. Thankfully for Levy, the prosecutors in the case are seeking a penalty less severe: a maximum of two years in jail with restitution payments of approximately $115,000. The penalties would also include prohibiting Levy from holding any future positions related to vehicle leasing, sales, finance or purchase during a pre-set supervised release.
Levy has already pleaded guilty to prosecutors to the charge of conspiracy to commit odometer tampering.
How The Crime Took Place
Levy would refer friends and customers about his services and charge these people anywhere between $100-$400 to tamper with the vehicle odometer readings. The people leasing the vehicles would take their automobiles to Levy’s Woodland Hills residence where electronic tools were utilized to rollback odometer readings. After the odometer changes were finalized the people would then take the vehicles to the car dealership Levy worked at. Levy would accept the vehicles with falsified odometer readings for trade-ins or lease returns. Essentially, Levy was engaging in a practice that was defrauding the dealership he worked at as well as future owners of the vehicles where odometers were tampered with.
An attorney for the prosecution explained that odometer fraud can not only cost victims large sums of money but it also has the potential to result in unreliable and potentially dangerous transportation.
Horban is a writer with expertise on security systems and GPS tracking technologies