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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Captured Fugitive Sentenced to Prison for Rolling Back Odometers in Scheme That Defrauded Hundreds of Car Buyers

A woman originally from Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to 50 months in prison on charges related to an odometer tampering conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced today. 

“Unscrupulous dealers who roll back odometers cheat consumers out of their hard-earned money, affect informed buying choices, and raise safety concerns by misrepresenting the actual condition of the vehicles they sell,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “For many American consumers, the purchase of an automobile is one of the biggest purchases they make.  The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce consumer protection laws by bringing those who commit this crime to justice.” 

Judith Ann Aloe, 56, previously residing in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.482 million to victims and serve three years of supervised release following her prison term.  In June 2016, Aloe pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to tamper with odometers, make false odometer certifications, and commit securities fraud, and 11 counts each of securities fraud and making false odometer certifications.  Aloe and a co-defendant, Kyle Novitsky, rolled back odometers on used cars and trucks to make the vehicles appear more valuable.  Doing business under various company names, Aloe and Novitsky sold close to 250 vehicles with rolled back odometers.

Aloe was scheduled to stand trial on May 14, 2014, in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, but when she failed to appear for trial, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest by Chief Judge Petrese B. Tucker.  Aloe remained at large for 21 months.  In February, she was located in Baja California, Mexico, and turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service at the Mexico-California border. 

In April 2014, Aloe’s co-defendant, Kyle Novitsky, then 46, of Scott Township, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to several counts in the indictment.  In October 2014, Novitsky was sentenced to 60 months in prison and also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.482 million to victims.

Aloe admitted to participating in the purchase of high-mileage cars, sport-utility vehicles and trucks from various locations of a national car rental company.  Aloe then worked with Novitsky to roll back and alter the odometers and resold the vehicles at wholesale automobile auctions in Pennsylvania.  Aloe also caused to be altered the high mileages shown on the titles received from the car rental company to reflect false, low mileages and retitled the vehicles in Pennsylvania with false mileages.  These titles were then given to the buyers so that the mileage on the titles matched the mileage shown on a vehicle’s odometer.

This case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Linda I. Marks of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and former Consumer Protection Branch Trial Attorney Jessica Gunder, now an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Idaho, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  The case was investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation. 

More information on odometer fraud is available on the NHTSA’s website and tips on detecting and avoiding odometer fraud are available at this page.  For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.

Consumer Protection
Press Release Number: 
Updated December 12, 2016