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Chicago Men Are Charged With Odometer and Title Fraud

Chicago
Courtesy of Scott (Flickr CC0)

The Grand Scheme In Chicago

On November Third a federal grand jury located in Chicago, Illinois returned an indictment for 3 men charged with odometer and title fraud. According to authorities, these men were operating multiple cars using this scheme over several years.

In other words, they were altering the number of miles driven on the odometer to maximize its value. When decreasing the miles on a vehicle is worth more money.

More on Charges

According to court records, Laith Ghzo, 36, Hussein Ghzo, 40, and Musab Sawai, 35, changed title paperwork to reflect the falsely low mileage on hundreds of used cars. These pre-owned cars were sold to uninformed wholesale purchasers and ultimately customers. They ended up paying more for them than they would have if they had known the real mileage of the cars.

The charges against Laith Ghzo and Hussein Ghzo include conspiracy to create counterfeit securities and mail fraud, as well as the actual production of counterfeit securities and mail fraud. Charges against Musab Sawai include mail fraud and conspiracy to produce counterfeit securities. Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the defendants made their first court appearances yesterday. Laith Ghzo, Hussein Ghzo, and Musab Sawai could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud and five years in jail for conspiracy, respectively if found guilty. After taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other legal considerations, a federal district court judge will decide on any sentence.

Behind the Scenes

The announcement was made by Acting Administrator Ann Carlson of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois, and Acting Inspector in Charge Kai Pickens of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Chicago Division.

The Postal Inspection Service and the NHTSA Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations are looking into the matter.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Joshua D. Rothman and Thomas Rosso from the Consumer Protection Branch of the Justice Department and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kartik K. Raman for the Northern District of Illinois.

The NHTSA set up hotlines for anyone with further information.

By Esteban Ruiz

Sources:

US Justice Department: Three Chicago Men Charged with Odometer and Title Fraud

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Scott’s  Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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