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

 

July 30, 2001

 

Re: VIN:

Dear Consumer:

The Consumer Protection Branch of the United States Department of Justice, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, has conducted an investigation in the Maryland and Virginia areas involving the sale of used motor vehicles with altered odometers. Criminal charges were filed against Ron Schichtman and others as a result of the investigation in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. On November 16, 2000, the indictment charging the defendants was unsealed and made public. Unfortunately, Mr. Schichtman has not yet been apprehended and is believed to have fled the country. Further information on this case may be accessed 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.

The Victims Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 requires the government to notify the victims and advise them of their rights and obligations under the Federal law. Accordingly, you are hereby notified that you may have been a victim of odometer fraud. Please complete and return in the envelope provided the enclosed form entitled "Consumer Declaration." If you fail to return this form, you will not be included in any possible restitution order covering victim losses in this case.

Our investigation revealed that, from approximately 1994 to 1996, Ron Schichtman purchased vehicles from the Harrisonburg Auto Auction and the Belair Auto Auction, rolled back the odometers on the vehicles, and then re-sold the vehicles within a few weeks or months after having purchased them. Our investigation further revealed that you subsequently purchased one of these rolled back vehicles. I have enclosed a copy of an auction invoice showing the mileage of your car (the "high mileage") when Ron Schichtman purchased it. The odometer was subsequently rolled back and the car was eventually sold to you. Please bear in mind that you may have purchased the vehicle from Schichtman (or someone working with Schichtman), or from an entirely innocent third party who purchased the vehicle from Schichtman and then later re-sold it to you without knowledge of the rollback.

Federal law (49 U.S.C. 32701 et seq.), prohibits the disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a motor vehicle's odometer with the intent to change the number of miles indicated thereon. 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 law requires a statement to that effect be furnished in written form to the buyer.

Violations of the above requirements also may subject the violator to civil liability if it is determined that the violator's actions were intended to defraud the purchaser. The law makes available to the buyer a remedy in the amount of $1,500 or treble damages. Section 32710 of the law permits the buyer to bring a civil action in the State or Federal court. You may do this by contacting your own private attorney or the State Attorney General. Your State Attorney General has the authority under Federal law to bring an action on your behalf and can also advise you regarding applicable State laws. The Federal government has the authority to bring actions for civil and criminal penalties; however, it cannot bring actions on behalf of consumers. We strongly recommend that you consult your own private attorney to determine your legal rights and remedies in this matter. You will find an enclosed document titled "Odometer Fraud Civil Remedies for Victims" which may assist you.

In addition, you should be aware that should you sell this vehicle without notifying the purchaser that the odometer does not reflect the actual mileage, you may incur liability. If you have any further questions, please read the enclosed document answering frequently asked questions. We hope this information will be of use to you.

Sincerely,

Laura Coates
Paralegal Specialist

Enclosures