NHTSA/Odometer Fraud (CLOSED)
Most Recent Update 7/5/07(See end of document)
United States v. William Dupree Melton and Jimmy Wayne Melton, 7:05-cr-01079-CRI-ALL (D. S.C.)
On Tuesday, October 11, 2005, a federal grand jury in Greenville, South Carolina, returned an Indictment charging William Dupree Melton and Jimmy Wayne Melton with twenty-seven felony counts for their roles in an unusual odometer fraud scheme. The indictment charges that the Meltons bought vehicles with extremely high mileage, replaced the high-mileage odometer clusters with low-mileage odometer clusters, and sold the vehicles at auction with a disclosure that the odometer was inaccurate. The indictment alleges that the Meltons have engaged in hundreds of such transactions to raise the value of the vehicles they sold, and that the mileage of individual vehicles may be reduced by more than 100,000 miles.
On March 31, 2006, William Dupree Melton and his son, Jimmy Wayne Melton, pled guilty to charges stemming from a scheme involving switching digital odometers. The Meltons each pled guilty to causing the interstate transportation of checks obtained by fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. As part of their plea, the Meltons admitted that they bought vehicles with extremely high mileage, replaced the high-mileage odometer clusters with low-mileage odometer clusters, and sold the vehicles with disclosures that the odometers were inaccurate. That disclosure, however, did not reveal the actual high mileage of the vehicles. The defendants then deposited the checks from these sales at their bank in South Carolina. In this way, the Meltons were able to sell vehicles at wholesale auctions for prices that were significantly higher than the prices at which they purchased the vehicles. The defendants admitted that these sales were fraudulent because they had knowingly made material omissions in the sales that substantially increased the vehicles’ value.
No change in status.
Sentencing proceedings occurred in November 2006. Judge G. Ross Anderson sentenced William Dupree Melton to eight months of imprisonment, eight months of home confinement, and a restitution order of $98,000. With regards to Jimmy Wayne Melton, Judge Anderson imposed a sentence of fifteen months of home confinement and a restitution order of $98,000.