Odometer Fraud


This page lists current CPB case updates accessible to the public.

Note: Under the "Justice for All Act of 2004," crime victims have certain rights described here.

Odometer Fraud

Frequently
Asked Questions


1. Do I need to contact
the Consumer Protection Branch regarding this matter?

2. Did the person I purchased the vehicle from know that the odometer
was rolled back?

3. Should I contact the person (or automobile dealership) who
sold me the vehicle?

4. What government agencies should I contact regarding the odometer
rollback?

5. How can I obtain more information concerning my vehicle?
6. Should I speak with a lawyer concerning this matter?
7. What do I need to do when I sell the car?
8. Will I receive any compensation resulting from this prosecution
of Ron Schichtman?

1. Do I need to
contact the Consumer Protection Branch regarding this matter?

Answer: No. Other than completing
and returning the enclosed "Consumer Declaration" in the envelope provided,
it is not necessary to contact the Consumer Protection Branch at this time.
Until the defendant has been apprehended, we do not have any further advice
or information to provide you. We will notify you of further developments through
the Office's website. You may access case information under "Cases" on the Office
of Consumer of Litigation portion of the United States Department of Justice
website, www.usdoj.gov/civil/CPB/, under U.S. v. Ron Schichtman. Due to the
large number of people contacted regarding this case, you may direct all additional
correspondence to the following address:

Department of Justice
Consumer Protection Branch
P.O. Box 386
Washington, DC 20044
ATTN: Matthew Ebert

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2. Did the person
I purchased the vehicle from know that the odometer was rolled back?

Answer: Our investigation has revealed
that Ron Schichtman purchased these vehicles from the Harrisonburg Auto Auction
and the Belair Auto Auction, rolled back the odometers on the vehicles, and
then re-sold the vehicles all within a few weeks or months after having purchased
them. In some instances, Schichtman (and a few people working for him) resold
the vehicles directly to unsuspecting consumers. This was typically done through
an advertisement in the Washington Post that appeared to have been placed by
a private owner of the vehicle. In other instances, Schichtman sold the vehicles
to auto dealerships. Whether the person who sold you the vehicle knew that the
odometer was rolled back depends on when and from whom you purchased the vehicle.

  • If you responded to a newspaper advertisement
    and purchased the car directly from Schichtman, he obviously knew about the
    rollback.
  • If you responded to a newspaper advertisement
    and purchased the vehicle from an individual claiming to represent Schichtman,
    we believe the seller was also involved in the scheme to defraud you.
  • If you purchased the car from an automobile
    dealership, our investigation has revealed no evidence that the dealership
    knew about the rollback.
  • If you purchased the vehicle from a private
    individual not claiming to be Schichtman (or someone representing Schichtman)
    and you purchased the car more than several months after Schichtman purchased
    the car at the Harrisonburg Auto Auction or the Belair Auto Auction, there
    is a very good chance that the person who sold you the car was not aware of
    the rollback. Schichtman purchased the last of these cars in May 1996. The
    exact date he purchased your car is identified on the enclosed auction invoice.
    In these circumstances, the person who sold you the car is most likely an
    innocent victim like yourself.

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3. Should I contact
the person (or automobile dealership) who sold me the vehicle?

Answer: You will have to decide
what course of action to take, in consultation with your attorney should you
choose to obtain one. The Department of Justice cannot advise you in this regard.
Bear in mind that the person who sold you the car may not have had knowledge
of the rollback. It is nevertheless true that automobile dealerships sometimes
compensate individuals who purchase a car from them when the car has a rolled-back
odometer. Your own attorney can best advise you of your rights in this regard.
See question and answer #6 regarding finding an attorney if you do not have
one.

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4. What government
agencies should I contact regarding the odometer rollback?

Answer: You may wish to contact
your state's Attorney General's Office. That office will be able to provide
you with information on your state's laws regarding odometer violations. You
may find the phone number of your AG's Office in your local phone book. If you
live in Virginia or Maryland, you may use the following addresses:

Virginia: Office of the Attorney General
             
900 East Main Street
             
Richmond, VA 23219
             
(804)786-2071
             
mail@oag.state.va.us

Maryland: Office of the Attorney
General
                Consumer
Protection Division
                200
St. Paul Place
                Baltimore,
MD 21202
                (410)
576-6300
                1
(888) 743-0023 toll-free
                consumer@oag.state.md.us

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5. How can I obtain
more information concerning my vehicle?

Answer: You can request your vehicle's
title history through your local DMV office. You may also wish to obtain a vehicle
history report through one of a number of commercial firms that collect motor
vehicle histories and offer them to the public. An internet search for the terms
"car title history" should produce a list of several such firms.

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6. Should I speak
with a lawyer concerning this matter?

Answer: You may wish to contact
a private attorney to determine your legal rights and remedies in this matter.
Some lawyers specialize in consumer law cases, including cases involving automobiles.
You may be able to locate an attorney by contacting the National Association
of Consumer Advocates at (202) 332-2500. You may also wish to contact your state
bar association for a referral.

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7. What do I need
to do when I sell the car?

Answer: Federal law requires that
you notify any subsequent purchaser of the car that, due to the rollback, the
true mileage of the car is unknown. This notice is designed to prevent other
innocent persons from being victimized.

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8. Will I receive
any compensation resulting from this prosecution of Ron Schichtman?

Answer: If we apprehend Schichtman
and if he is convicted, the United States will seek restitution for losses suffered
by all of the victims we can identify in this case. Whether he will be apprehended
remains to be seen. Whether restitution can be collected will also depend on
Schichtman's assets. Please check the website identified above for updates regarding
the status of the case.

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