NORFOLK, Va. – A 47-year-old man from Norfolk will be sentenced in May after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit odometer tampering and securities fraud.
According to officials from the Department of Justice, from September 2010 to October 2016, Lawson W. Basnight, was part of a group that conspired to defraud customers by rolling back odometers in vehicles.
After finding high mileage vehicles on the Internet, Basnight would pose as a used car dealer so that he could sell people cars that had tampered odometers.
Basnight would also buy from people in person. In these situations, he would instruct that the seller not fill in the assignment portion of the title. He would then prepare the title application with the false lower odometer readings, after securing new official titles that he was able to get.
Basnight did not tamper with the odometers directly, but did get an associate to do so.
The maximum penalty for the crimes that Basnight committed is five years in prison. But officials say that sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum. He will be sentenced on May 16.
NHTSA estimates that odometer fraud in the United States results in consumer losses of more than $1 billion annually and has established a special hotline to handle odometer fraud complaints.
Individuals having information relating to odometer tampering should call (800) 424-9393 or (202) 366-4761.