A Massapequa, N.Y., man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Allentown, Pa., to conspiracy to commit odometer tampering, the Department of Justice announced. The defendant, Edward Capicchioni, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to tamper with odometers and make false odometer certifications. Capicchioni rolled back odometers on used cars and trucks to make the vehicles appear more valuable. Doing business under the company name of The General’s Auto Sales, Capicchioni sold more than 50 vehicles with rolled back odometers.
“Tampering with a car’s odometer in order to trick a would-be buyer is not only pernicious, it is a federal crime,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “A car is an expensive purchase – indeed, for many of us, the most expensive purchase of our lives – and we have a right to know that the car we are buying is what it appears to be. The Department of Justice will continue to take action against those who seek to defraud consumers.”
Capicchioni admitted to purchasing high-mileage cars, sport-utility vehicles and trucks from individual sellers in New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Maryland. Capicchioni then worked with a co-conspirator to roll back and alter the odometers and resold the vehicles at a wholesale auto auction in Pennsylvania. Capicchioni also took steps to hide his odometer fraud scheme. He checked the Carfax public database to see if it included a mileage entry that was higher than the false, lower mileage to which he reset the odometer. When Carfax included a higher mileage, Capicchioni submitted to Carfax fraudulent documentation in the name of the vehicle’s prior owner, in order to have the higher mileage reading removed.
After Carfax discovered Capicchioni’s fraud scheme through an internal investigation, Carfax personnel alerted the Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA conducted additional investigation into the full scope of Capicchioni’s criminal activities, and Carfax continued to provide information and assistance throughout NHTSA’s investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John W. Burke with the Consumer Protection Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice.
NHTSA has established a special hotline to handle odometer fraud complaints. Individuals with information relating to odometer tampering should call (800) 424-9393 or
(202) 366-4761. Tips on detecting and avoiding odometer fraud are available at www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/811284.pdf . More information on odometer fraud is available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Odometer-Fraud .