Local man to be sentenced for tampering with odometer readings on dozens of vehicles he bought, resold

Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 19, 2018

NORFOLK, Va. - When you buy a car you expect that the odometer reading is accurate, but a Norfolk man is waiting to be sentenced after admitting to tampering with dozens of cars that he bought and then resold, according to court documents.

Records state the scheme involved more than 50 cars.

Lawson Basnight is accused of buying cars, rolling back the odometer and reselling the cars.

Court documents indicate the scheme went on from September 2010 to October 2016.

They state he worked with a co-conspirator, but that person’s name is not listed in the court records.

Basnight’s attorney Sonny Stallings said Basnight was the focus of a federal investigation after a Task Force out of Washington D.C. started looking into the cars he was buying and selling.

Stallings said the DMV red flagged Basnight’s information after they saw how many cars he was buying and selling.

Court records allege Basnight bought a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee that had 125,000 miles on it for $19,000 dollars.

They say he and his co-conspirator tampered with the odometer to make the SUV show that it had 12,900 miles on it before selling it and making $30,000 in proceeds.

Another example states he bought a 2009 Ford F150 that had 165,000 miles on it for $9,700 dollars, then made it look like the truck had only 55,000 miles on it before reselling the truck for almost $22,000.

Records state that throughout the course of the conspiracy, the defendant and his co-conspirator tampered with the odometers and secured fraudulent titles for more than 50 vehicles, resulting in fraud loss of more than $250,000 but less than $550,000.

Stallings said his client disclosed what he was doing when confronted by authorities.

“He's been very candid with authorities,” said Stallings.

Basnight pled guilty and is now waiting to be sentenced.

“He's very remorseful and doesn't have any other criminal record so hopefully the court will take that into consideration and I'm sure they will,” said Stallings.

Basnight is scheduled to be sentenced May 16.