NCDMV License and Theft Bureau Makes Arrest in Odometer Tampering Case
After a month-long investigation into possible odometer tampering, agents with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles' (NCDMV) License and Theft Bureau arrested Mitchel Craig Padgett at his home in Forest City, NC on Monday, January 11, 2016. The arrest was made with the assistance of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, the Forest City Police and the Spindale Police Department.
Padgett was charged with six felony counts of unlawful change of mileage, seven felony counts of altering a certificate of title, eight felony counts of common law forgery and seven felony counts of aiding and abetting notary fraud.
Padgett owned and operated AACE Automotive, a vehicle repair garage in Forest City.
The License and Theft Bureau says that agents are continuing to investigate the possibility of additional victims.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 450,000 vehicles are sold in the U.S. every year with false odometer readings, cheating American car buyers out of more than $1 billion annually.
NHTSA says that strong enforcement of federal and state odometer laws, i.e. prosecutions with stiff sentences, appears to be the most effective deterrent to the practice—which the agency says has become more profitable than ever for crooks given new car prices and the increased demand for late-model, low-mileage used cars.
The Federal odometer law prohibits the disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a motor vehicle's odometer with intent to change the number of miles indicated thereon.
If you suspect that you've been the victim of odometer fraud, contact NHTSA's Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation or the NCDMV License and Theft Bureau.