Father and Son Plead Guilty in Large Scale Vehicle Odometer Roll Back Scheme
Jackson, Miss. – Mark Longgrear, 53, of Jackson, and his son, Zachary Longgrear, 29, of Madison, both pled guilty before United States District Judge Carlton W. Reeves to conspiring to reset and alter the odometers of motor vehicles and to giving or causing to be given false statements relating to odometers, announced United States Attorney Mike Hurst and Deputy Administrator Heidi King with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Mark Longgrear also pled guilty to six counts of securities fraud.
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, and thereafter illegally altered the odometers of these vehicles to show lower mileage. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendants 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. Some of these rolled-back vehicles were subsequently sold by the dealerships to consumers in Mississippi and elsewhere.
Judge Reeves set sentencing for December 12, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. The count of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Each securities fraud violation carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Restitution may also be ordered.
“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.
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.