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Massoud Mortazavi-Koupai (183-73-13)


NHTSA/Odometer Fraud (CLOSED)

United States v. Massoud Mortazavi-Koupai, 3: 07-CR-076-R (01) (N.D. Tex.)
File 183-73-13

Most recent update 9/18/08 (See end of document)

Update 2/11/05:

No information available at this time.

Update 8/9/05:

No information available at this time.

Update 11/22/05:

No information available at this time.

Update 7/21/06:

No information available at this time.

4/10/07 Update:

A federal grand jury in Dallas returned an indictment on Wednesday, March 8, 2007, charging Plano, Texas, resident, Massoud Mortazavi-Koupai, a/k/a “Marcus “Mortazavi” and “Marcus Mortazavi-Koupai” with six counts of mail fraud and three counts of making a false statement on transfer of a used motor vehicle (false odometer statement), related to a fraudulent scheme which included concealing structural damage and odometer discrepancies.

According to the indictment, Massoud Mortazavi-Koupai was in the business of buying and selling used motor vehicles, doing business under the names of Interfirst Leasing and DFW Remarketing in Richardson, Texas. Mortazavi-Koupai bought vehicles at wholesale automobile auctions that required dealers selling at the auctions to notify the dealers if a motor vehicle had sustained structural damage. In accordance with wholesale auction practice, these structurally damaged vehicles were sold separately from vehicles without serious problems.

In addition, federal law requires that the seller of a vehicle must disclose the mileage on the vehicle to the buyer in writing, and sign the written disclosure. The seller must certify that the odometer reading reflects the actual mileage, or, if the seller knows that the odometer reading differs from the actual mileage, it also must be disclosed.

The indictment alleges that from at least January 1998 through August 2003, Mortazavi-Koupai ran a scheme in which he defrauded purchasers of used motor vehicles. The indictment alleges that he bought hundreds of vehicles knowing that they had previously sustained substantial structural damage and purchased numerous vehicles knowing the odometers were inaccurate. He deliberately concealed these facts both from his employees and consumers and caused his employees to make false statement to consumers, according to the charges.

The United States Attorney’s office issued a press release in connection with the indictment. The press release can be accessed here: USAO Press Release, 3/7/07.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty at a trial.

4/23/07 Update:

On April 19, 2007, Judge Jerry Buchmeyer scheduled this case for trial on the Court’s four-week docket beginning Monday, September 10, 2007, at the United States Courthouse, 1100 Commerce Street, Dallas, Texas.

9/20/07 Update:

This case has been assigned to Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater. The case has been set for trial beginning Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at the United States Courthouse, 1100 Commerce Street, Dallas, Texas.

12/14/07 Update:

No change in status.

2/06/08 Update:

On January 18, 2008, Defendant Massoud Mortazavi-Koupai, the owner of the used car dealerships Interfirst Leasing and DFW Remarketing pled guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to one count of false odometer disclosure. Mortazavi-Koupai, 47, faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and restitution. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Fitzwater on April 25, 2008.

According to documents filed in the case, Mortazavi-Koupai admitted that he personally purchased, or directed others to purchase, numerous vehicles at automobile auctions with notification that such vehicles had previously sustained substantial structural damage to the frame or the unibody. These auto auctions required selling dealers to provide notification to purchasing dealers that a motor vehicle had previously sustained frame damage or unibody damage, which indicate structural damage. Mortazavi-Koupai admitted that on a substantial number of occasions, after purchasing vehicles with notification that the vehicles had structural damage, his dealership sold such vehicles without disclosing the damage to purchasers.

In connection with the plea, Mortazavi-Koupai also admitted that he purchased vehicles with inaccurate odometers. Federal law requires that, in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle, the seller must disclose the mileage to the purchaser in writing and sign the written disclosure. In addition, the seller must certify that the odometer reading reflects the actual mileage, or, if the transferor knows that the odometer reading reflects the amount of mileage in excess of the designed mechanical odometer limit, he will include a statement to that effect. If the transferor knows that the odometer reading differs from the mileage and that the difference is greater than that caused by odometer calibration error, he will include a statement that the odometer reading does not reflect the actual mileage, and should not be relied upon. Mortazavi-Koupai admitted that on a substantial number of occasions, after purchasing vehicles with certifications from previous owners that the odometer was inaccurate, his dealership sold vehicles with a certification made on behalf of his dealership that the vehicles’ odometers were accurate, when in fact they were not.

9/18/08 Update:

On January 18, 2008, Defendant Massoud Mortazavi-Koupai, the owner of Interfirst Leasing and DFW Remarketing in Dallas, Texas, pled guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to one count of false odometer disclosure. Following the Mortazavi-Koupai’s plea of guilty, the Court imposed on April 28, 2008, a sentence of 36 months imprisonment to be followed by one (1) year of supervised release. The sentence was that agreed to in the plea agreement by the Defendant.

On July 2, 2008, the Court awarded $732,162.13 in restitution to the "identified victims" of Mortazavi-Koupai’s fraud.

Under federal law, restitution is ordered in criminal cases, in general, on the basis of losses a defendant causes and without regard to the defendant’s ability to pay the restitution. See 18 U.S.C. § 3664 (f)(1)(A), which provides: "In each order of restitution, the court shall order restitution to each victim in the full amount of each victim’s losses as determined by the court and without consideration of the economic circumstances of the defendant." Any payments made by the defendant will go to the Court and will then be shared among victims. Any amount due a victim shall be reduced by any amount the victim recovers for the same loss from any other source.