Father and Son Indicted in Large Scale Vehicle Odometer Roll Back Scheme
Jackson, Miss. – Mark Longgrear, 53, of Jackson, and son, Zachary Longgrear, 29, of Madison, both waived appearance for their arraignments before U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball after having been recently indicted and charged with rolling back the odometers of multiple high mileage vehicles and selling such fraudulently altered vehicles with doctored titles, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Deputy Administrator Heidi King with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Indictment alleges that, from 2014 through at least February 2018, Mark Longgrear, along with his son, Zachary Longgrear, both individually and under their company Southern Auto Buyers LLC, bought a large number of late model, high mileage vehicles from numerous sources, thereafter illegally altered the odometers of these vehicles to show lower mileage, forged and fraudulently created paperwork to secure new titles showing false lower mileage on these vehicles, and then sold the vehicles directly to individuals and automobile dealerships at much higher prices. Thereafter, some of these rolled-back vehicles were subsequently sold by dealerships to consumers in the Mississippi area and elsewhere.
The Longgrears were charged with one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine. In Counts 2-8, the Longgrears were charged with altering odometers of motor vehicles, and in Counts 9-14, the Longgrears were charged with giving or causing to be given false statements relating to odometers, all of which carry maximum penalties of three years per count and a $250,000.00 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Finally, in Counts 15-20, the Longgrears were charged with making, uttering or possessing forged or counterfeit certificates of title for motor vehicles, which carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and $250,000.00 fine.
This case is set for trial on May 14, 2018 before the Honorable Carlton W. Reeves. The public is reminded that the indictment is merely an accusation and that the defendants are each presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is the result of an investigation by the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Odometer Fraud
Investigation, with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Keesha Middleton.
Odometer fraud is the disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a vehicle’s odometer with the intent to change the number of miles indicated. NHTSA estimates that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings.
"Odometer fraud costs American consumers more than $1 billion annually, said NHTSA Deputy Administrator King. "We will continue to work with Department of Justice and state DOT partners to investigate odometer fraud, deter tampering, and inform consumers of the potential signs and dangers associated with this crime."
NHTSA has established a special hotline to handle odometer fraud complaints. Individuals who have information relating to odometer tampering should call (800) 424-9393 or (202) 366-4761. Individuals can also file a complaint online at www.NHTSA.gov/Equpment/Odometer-Fraud.