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US v. James Clyburn


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)

Update 12/04:

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.

Update 1/6/05:

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.

Update 3/31/05:

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.