NHTSA/Odometer Fraud (CLOSED)
Most Recent Update 2/04 (See end of document)
United States v. Farajallah (aka Frank) Younis, Sr., and Farajallah
(aka Frankie) Younis, Jr., Criminal No. 03-CR-124 (D. Ariz.) dba Nations Auto
The United States Department of Justice and the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) Odometer Fraud Task Force recently concluded
an investigation in western Texas and Arizona involving the sale of
used motor vehicles with altered odometers. The investigation disclosed
that numerous vehicles had been subject to odometer tampering.
The Federal odometer law, Title
49, United States Code, sections 32701-32711 (formerly the Motor Vehicle
Information and Cost Savings Act, Title 15, United States Code, sections
1981-1991) prohibits disconnecting, resetting, or altering a motor vehicle's
odometer with intent to change the number of miles on the odometer.
The law requires that a written disclosure of the mileage registered
on an odometer be provided by the seller to the purchaser at the time
ownership of a vehicle is transferred. If the odometer mileage is incorrect,
the Act requires a statement to that effect to be furnished in written
form to the buyer.
As a result of the investigation, in February 2003 a Phoenix grand
jury indicted Farajallah (aka Frank) Younis, Sr., and Farajallah (aka
Frankie) Younis, Jr. on 29 counts of conspiracy, interstate transport
of altered securities, and giving false odometer statements. The securities
were certificates of title relating to certain motor vehicles which
contained false information regarding the mileages of the vehicles.
The indictment alleged a plan to purchase used cars with high mileages
in Texas and sell them to various Arizona dealerships and residents
with misrepresentations as to their true mileages.
Charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations, and not
evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented
to a federal trial jury, whose duty it is to determine guilt or innocence.
A trial is scheduled for September 2, 2003, in Phoenix before the Hon.
Frederick J. Martone in United States District Court. If you believe
that you are a victim of odometer fraud, please refer to the following
document: Odometer Fraud
– Civil Remedies for Victims.
Trial is no longer scheduled for September 2, 2003; updates will be
posted here as information is made available by the Court.
No change in status.
On January 27, 2004, Farajallah (a.k.a. "Frank") Younis, Sr., and
Farajallah (a.k.a. "Frankie") Younis, Jr., both of El Paso, Texas, were
sentenced to 30 months' and 18 months' imprisonment, respectively, by
a federal district judge in Phoenix, Arizona, for their leading roles
in an odometer tampering scheme. The defendants each previously pled
guilty to five counts of a
29-count indictment alleging conspiracy (18 U.S.C. Â§ 371), interstate
transportation of altered securities (18 U.S.C. Â§ 2314), and the giving
of false odometer statements (49 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 32705(a)(2), 32709(b)).
In connection with their pleas, the Younises admitted that at least
as early as May 1998, and continuing through at least December 2000,
they conspired with others to purchase at least 591 high-mileage, late-model
pickup trucks, roll back the odometers on those vehicles to a false
low mileage, alter the titles and other paperwork associated with the
sale of the vehicles, and sell them with altered odometers. Most of
the vehicles involved in the scheme were purchased from automobile auctions
and wholesale used car dealers in Texas, then resold with altered odometers
to Arizona residents or automobile dealerships. By misrepresenting the
mileage of the vehicles to the purchasers, the Younises and their co-conspirators
obtained a higher price for the vehicles.
The Younises also were sentenced to 3 years of supervised release each
upon completing their prison sentences. Federal law requires a judgment
to be entered against each defendant for restitution based on the fraud,
regardless of the defendant's ability to pay. Accordingly, the court
ordered defendants to pay restitution to victims in the amount of $541,500.
The entry of such a judgment does not mean, however, that the defendants
have the assets to pay the judgment. The Probation Office in Phoenix
is responsible for administering restitution, and has been in contact
with the victims of these offenses. The court ordered that the restitution
be paid by the two defendants in the combined amount of $1,700 per month.