The defendants purchased high mileage cars and trucks, and then rolled back the odometers on the vehicles to make them appear more valuable

Odometer mileage reading – odometer tampering
Image: Pexels
June 23, 2016

A woman originally from Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania has plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to all 23 counts of an indictment related to an odometer tampering conspiracy, the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) announced.

The USDOJ says that Judith Ann Aloe, previously residing in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, was scheduled to stand trial in May 2014 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. When she failed to appear for trial, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. Aloe remained at large for 21 months.

In February 2016, Aloe was located in Baja California, Mexico, and turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service at the Mexico/California border. Today, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to tamper with odometers, make false odometer certifications, and commit securities fraud and to 11 counts each of securities fraud and making false odometer certifications.

In April 2014, Aloe's co-defendant in this case, Kyle Novitsky, of Scott Township, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to several counts in the indictment.

According to the USDOJ, from at least as early as 2004 through 2010, Aloe and Novitsky purchased high mileage cars and trucks, and then rolled back the odometers on the vehicles to make them appear more valuable. Doing business under various company names, Aloe and Novitsky sold close to 250 vehicles with rolled back odometers to unsuspecting car buyers.

"The purchase of an automobile is one of the biggest purchases consumers make, and consumers rely on accurate mileage information to assess the value and safety of a vehicle," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division. "Not only do purchasers pay more for used cars, but odometer fraud could ultimately affect a car's safety and the costs of future repairs to the consumer. The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce consumer protection laws by bringing those who commit this crime to justice."

Aloe admitted to participating in the purchase of high-mileage cars, sport-utility vehicles and trucks from various locations of a national car rental company. She then worked with Novitsky to roll back and alter the odometers and then resold the vehicles at wholesale automobile auctions in Pennsylvania. The USDOJ says that Aloe was also responsible for having vehicle titles received from the car rental company altered to show lower mileages—then retitling the vehicles in Pennsylvania with the false mileage numbers. These fraudulent titles were then given to buyers so that the mileage on the titles matched the mileage shown on a vehicle's odometer.

In October 2014, Novitsky was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,482,000 to victims. Aloe's sentencing is scheduled to take place on September 29, 2016.