NHTSA/Odometer Fraud (CLOSED)
Most Recent Update: 3/05 (See end of document)
United States v. James Clyburn, Crim. No. 04-00175-001 (S.D. Texas)
On June 14, 2004, James Clyburn of Houston, Texas, pled guilty to an
Information charging him with two counts of mail fraud, one count of
odometer tampering, and one count of bank fraud in connection with a
long-running odometer tampering scheme. In his plea, Clyburn acknowledged
that from at least 1985 to 2001, he sold more than 200 used motor vehicles
knowing that the vehicles' odometers had been rolled back to reflect
false, low mileages. Clyburn also admitted that he listed false sales
prices on tax documentation sent to the State of Texas, which allowed
him to pocket the difference between taxes actually paid to him by customers
and those reported to the state.
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.
Sentencing is currently scheduled for January 18, 2005; however, it
is likely that this date will be changed. Updates will be posted to
this web page as information is made available by the Court.
If you believe that you are a victim of odometer fraud, please refer
to the following document: Odometer
Fraud – Civil Remedies for Victims.
Sentencing for James Clyburn has been rescheduled for 8:45 a.m. on
March 30, 2005. The sentencing will be held before Judge Lee H. Rosenthal
at the United States Courthouse, 515 Rusk Street, Houston, Texas.
On March 30, 2005, Judge Lee H. Rosenthal sentenced James Clyburn.
The court found that Clyburn had abused a position of trust, as that
term is used in federal Sentencing Guidelines, in connection with pocketing
money he collected from consumers as payment for sales tax. The court
also granted a 2 offense level downward departure that the government
requested in connection with Clyburn's substantial assistance in the
prosecution of another person. The court determined that Clyburn's offense
level under the Sentencing Guidelines was 16. The court imposed a sentence
in the middle of the corresponding sentencing range under the guidelines,
sentencing Clyburn to 24 months in prison. The sentence also included
5 years of supervised release; a $5,000 fine; $37,431 in restitution;
and a $400 special assessment.