Five Individuals Sentenced to Federal Prison for Methamphetamine Trafficking and Money Laundering in the Fox Valley
Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on December 5, 2023, a Mexican national was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to 12 months and one day in prison for his role in a scheme to roll back odometers on used motor vehicles.
Israel Sanchez-Pulido, 41, of Mexico City, Mexico, pleaded guilty on September 6, 2023, to one count of odometer tampering, one count of making a false odometer statement, and one count of conspiracy.
As part of his plea agreement, Sanchez-Pulido admitted that, between 2009 and 2014, he purchased 146 high-mileage vehicles at Wisconsin auto auctions, rolled back the odometers, altered the mileage statements on the vehicle title paperwork, and then sold the vehicles with fraudulently low odometer readings to unsuspecting victims, who were primarily from Illinois. Sanchez-Pulido purchased the cars at auto auctions located in Wisconsin and drove them to a used car dealership in Evanston, Illinois. He then rolled back the odometers, reflecting a much lower mileage, and altered the vehicle title to match the false mileage, often by simply erasing the first digit of the mileage on the title or by writing over the accurate mileage reading. Sanchez-Pulido then represented to buyers the false mileage, which often exceeded 100,000 miles lower than the true mileage and sold the vehicles for more money than the vehicles were worth. The estimated fraud-loss of the 146 vehicles involved in this schemed exceeded $250,000.
On March 5, 2014, Sanchez-Pulido was arrested and charged by criminal complaint. During the subsequent detention hearing, he was granted release after posting a property-secured bond, and he was ordered to return to court for arraignment on April 14, 2014. Sanchez-Pulido never appeared.
He absconded and remained a fugitive for nearly ten years until June 2023, when local law enforcement stopped Sanchez-Pulido for a traffic violation in Illinois and discovered the outstanding arrest warrant from the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Judge Lynn Adelman sentenced Sanchez-Pulido to 12 months and one day of incarceration. At the request of the government, restitution will be addressed on March 1, 2024.
“Individuals who engage in these types of schemes seek to line their own pockets at the expense of consumers who can least afford it,” stated U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin. “In addition, after being charged, this defendant absconded and avoided the consequences of his actions for the better part of a decade. I commend our hard-working federal and state partners who helped pursue justice for the victims in this case.”
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Trial Attorney Edward Dunn of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Koenig of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, prosecuted the case.
NHTSA estimates that odometer fraud in the United States results in consumer losses of more than $1 billion annually. Individuals with information relating to odometer tampering should call NHTSA’s odometer fraud hotline at (800) 424-9393.
More information on odometer fraud is available on the NHTSA website at https://www.nhtsa.gov/odometer-fraud and tips on detecting and avoiding odometer fraud are available at https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/811284.pdf.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-edwi.
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