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Press Release

Eight Area People Sentenced on Fraud Charges Involving Motor Vehicle Titles

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

St. Louis, MO – RANDALL HINTON was the leader of a scheme to alter and counterfeit documents in order to obtain state issued motor vehicle titles for himself and others, and to obtain loans secured by motor vehicle titles.  Hinton, of St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced on August 11 to 136 months in prison; co-defendant JUSTIN CARTER, also of St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced yesterday afternoon to 60 months in prison.  Six other co-defendants have been sentenced earlier this summer to sentences ranging from five years of probation to 37 months in prison.

According to court documents, the schemes involving the defendants resulted in financial losses to the State of Missouri, financial institutions, title loan companies and individuals.  As the documents were often altered to decrease the value of the vehicles or to change the state of residence of the vehicle owners to addresses in Illinois, the owners of the vehicles were able to evade paying the appropriate taxes and license fees to the Department of Revenue for the State of Missouri.  When Hinton removed the names of financial institutions which had financed the purchases of the vehicles from legitimate titles, Hinton and others were able to sell the vehicles to innocent purchasers, who were then unable to register the vehicles due to existing liens.

The final aspect of the scheme enabled individuals to use the altered documents to obtain motor vehicle title loans from companies located throughout the United States.  As a result of existing liens or the fact that the value of the vehicles was less than the defendants represented, the title loan companies experienced large financial losses.  Due to the removal of the names of the true lienholders for the documents, government analysts were only able to identify actual losses, which exceeded $311,000.  However, due to the number of vehicles that the government was able to identify as being used in the fraudulent scheme, the loss estimate was as high as $1,000,000.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the State of Missouri Department of Revenue, the State of Illinois Secretary of State and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Berry is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Updated August 20, 2015