United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Four Men Plead Guilty To Conspiracy For Rolling Back Car Odometers
Seventy-five Cars Sold with Falsified Mileage
Four men from Puyallup, Washington pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Conspiracy for selling used cars after tampering with the odometers. RICKY RISTICK, 23, and his father ROBERT "BOB" RISTICK, 42, conspired to roll back the odometers on 36 different automobiles. MILLER STEVENS, 32, and his brother STANLEY STEVENS, 28, conspired to roll back the odometers on 39 different vehicles. The men operated entities buying and selling cars under the names One Stop Auto and RSV Auto. In all the RISTICKs pleaded guilty to $144,000 in fraud losses and the STEVENs admitted $156,000 in fraud losses. The men are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on January 27, 2012.
According to the plea agreements filed in the case, the men would purchase high mileage vehicles from both private sellers and used car dealers in Washington and Oregon. The men would then have the odometers rolled back, so the new purchaser would think it was a low mileage vehicle. The plea agreements describe examples of the scheme. The RISTICKs admitted that in 2006, they bought a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado with 192,000 miles from a private seller in Oregon for $7,800. In early 2007, they requested that an auto repair shop roll the odometer back to 64,521. They then sold the Silverado to a car dealer in Wenatchee for $15,000.
The plea agreement involving the STEVENS describes how in July 2006, MILLER STEVENS purchased a 2000 Toyota Tundra from a private party in Montesano for $12,400. The truck had a reading of approximately 126,000 on the odometer. STANLEY STEVENS took the vehicle to a Puyallup repair shop and requested that the odometer be reset to approximately 39,500. The truck was resold in July 2006 to a private party in Tacoma for $15,000. When the buyer discovered the fraud in August 2006, he demanded his money back. MILLER STEVENS then resold the vehicle to another unsuspecting buyer.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the government has agreed to recommend no more than two years in prison for each defendant. The defendants collectively agreed to pay $100,000 at the time of sentencing as a down payment on restitution to the victims.
The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department, the Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jerrod Patterson and Trial Attorney Alan Phelps with the U.S. Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch.