NHTSA/Odometer Fraud (CLOSED)
Most Recent Update 4/11/08 (See end of document)
United States v. Gary Lee Sutton, 1:06-cr-00124 (D. Colo.)
The United States Department of Justice, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office Of Odometer Fraud Investigations, and the Colorado Department of Revenue, Auto Industry Division, recently concluded an investigation in Colorado involving the sale of used motor vehicles with altered odometers. 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.
Following the investigation, on April 4, 2006, a federal grand jury in the District of Colorado indicted Gary Lee Sutton, of Denver and Montrose, Colorado, with two counts of mail fraud, ten counts of odometer tampering, and ten counts of giving false odometer statements. Sutton has not yet been arraigned, and no trial date has been set. Updates will be posted to this web page as information is made available by the Court.
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.
The Court has set this case for trial beginning at 9:00 a.m., January 2, 2007, in Courtroom A1001, Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse, 901 19th St., Denver, Colorado.
The Court recently granted Defendant's motion for continuance; the existing trial date was vacated and a change of plea hearing was set for February 9, 2007, at 9:30 a.m., at the same location listed above.
On February 9, 2007, Gary Sutton pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of odometer fraud pursuant to a plea agreement he signed with the government. The Court adjudged Sutton guilty and set sentencing for 9:30 a.m. on May 4, 2007, at the same location referenced above.
On May 2, 2007, the Court rescheduled the sentencing in this case from May 4 to May 10, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. The location of the sentencing is unchanged.
On May 10, 2007, the Court sentenced Sutton to 30 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. The Court found that Sutton was financially unable to pay a fine, and also found that restitution would not be awarded under the circumstances of the case.
Following sentencing, the defendant filed an appeal with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals relating to the length of his sentence. Both sides have now submitted their briefs to the Court.
A panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard argument in this case on March 18, 2008. On April 3, 2008, the Court filed a written decision affirming Sutton's sentence and finding no error by the district court.