The U.S. Department of Justice today announced that two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for tampering with car odometers. The men, who are brothers, are alleged to have rolled back the odometers of nearly 150 different vehicles.
Erick Sanchez-Pulido and Israel Sanchez-Pulido, 30 and 31 years old, have been charged with 15 counts of odometer tampering, four counts of false odometer statements, and a host of related charges. The pair are Mexican citizens who were living illegally in the Chicago area prior to their arrests.
“Odometer fraud harms consumers making one of the biggest purchases in their lives: an automobile,” said Stuart Delery, assistant attorney general for the the Civil Divisionof the Justice Department. “Not only do purchasers end up paying more for used cars, but the rolling back of mileage on odometers could ultimately affect a car’s safety and the costs of future repairs to consumers.”
According to the Justice Department, the Sanchez-Pulido brothers purchased vehicles with high odometer mileages from Wisconsin auto auctions. They then rolled back the odometers before selling the same vehicles to customers. The titles for the vehicles were also falsified with fraudulent milage readings. The brothers allegedly practiced this scheme from late 2009 until February of this year, rolling back the odometers of at lease 146 different vehicles.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation were integral in the investigation into the Sanchez-Pulido brothers. The prosecution of the men is now being led by the Consumer Protection division of the Justice Department.
“Tampering with odometers is a crime that puts consumers’ lives and wallets at risk,” said David Friedman, acting administrator for the NHSTA. “Safety is the Department of Transportation’s top priority, and we will continue to work with our Department of Justice and state DOT partners to deter odometer fraud and inform consumers of the potential signs of and dangers associated with this crime.”