Georgia Dealer and Title Clerk Sentenced in Odometer Fraud Scheme
Two Georgia residents were sentenced in Atlanta, Georgia today for their roles in a conspiracy to alter odometers of used motor vehicles, the Justice Department announced.
Rojen Burnett, 35, of Conyers, Georgia, and Amber McLaughlin, 33, of Duluth, Georgia, each were sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.
Burnett owned and operated Lifestyle Auto Broker LLC, a Georgia corporation that bought and sold used motor vehicles; McLaughlin was a former customer service specialist at the Motor Vehicle Department of the Georgia Department of Revenue. In 2012 and 2013, Burnett bought high-mileage used motor vehicles, altered the mileage on the titles, rolled-back the odometers, obtained new titles with false low mileages, and sold the vehicles to unsuspecting dealers. The dealers, in turn, sold them to consumers. McLaughlin helped Burnett commit odometer fraud by fraudulently issuing new Georgia titles with false low mileages in exchange for cash.
“Buying a car or truck is one of the biggest financial decisions that consumers make,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Odometer fraudsters victimize consumers by making them pay substantially more for a used car that is less safe and less reliable than the consumer wanted or needed. The Justice Department will hold these fraudsters accountable for their crimes.”
The defendants’ scheme included at least 310 vehicles whose odometers were rolled back and sold. Burnett and McLaughlin were also ordered to pay $399,363 and $176,725, respectively, in restitution to the victims of their fraud, who are the current owners of the cars with rolled-back odometers.
This case was investigated by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation (NHTSA) and the Georgia Department of Revenue. NHTSA estimates that odometer fraud in the United States results in consumer losses of more than $1 billion annually and has established a special hotline to handle odometer fraud complaints. Individuals having information relating to odometer tampering should call (800) 424-9393 or (202) 366-4761.
This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Allan Gordus and Trial Attorney Kerala Thie Cowart of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Pearce and Nathan Kitchens of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.
For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.