Dealer Found Guilty of 11 Deception-Related Felonies
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In yet another example of the government's crackdown on deceptive auto practices, a Wyoming used-vehicle dealer was convicted in a Cheyenne, Wyo., federal court late last week for conspiracy, five counts of odometer tampering and five counts of securities fraud related to fraudulent motor vehicles titles.
Randy Lee (aka Jimmy Lee) was found guilty on 11 of the 14 felonies of which he was charged, and was acquitted on the two counts of providing false odometer certifications and one count of mail fraud.
Essentially, prosecutors said that Lee had been duping used-car buyers from as early as 2002 through at least 2006 with his deceptive practices of misrepresenting mileage on cars sold to unsuspecting customers.
Lee, along with co-defendant Jay Lee, was indicted on July 23 by the grand jury in Casper, Wyo., for the aforementioned charges relating to an odometer tampering scheme.
Officials said Jay Lee remains at large and urged anyone with information on where he might be to get in touch with the proper authorities.
According to indictment, Randy Lee and Jay Lee — who bought and sold used cars for a Cheyenne used-car dealership — bought pickups in Wyoming and other states in the area. They then apparently rolled back the odometers on these vehicles — sometimes as far back as 100,000 miles — and acquired fake Wyoming titles.
The defendants allegedly sold these same vehicles to dealers and consumers in Wyoming and Colorado.
Even though there were notices of odometer discrepancy on some of the units, none were sold with information sharing how big the discrepancy was.
"For most people, a car is one of the biggest investments they own, aside from their home. Dishonest dealers who hide a vehicle's high mileage cheat consumers out of their hard-earned money, impede intelligent buying choices and raise safety concerns by misrepresenting the true condition of the vehicles they sell," shared Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.
"This sort of financial fraud strikes hard at those who can least afford it, and we will continue vigorously to prosecute those engaging in these illegal practices," West added.
Continuing on, West also thanked the agencies that teamed up together, including the Wyoming Department of Transportation's Office of Compliance and Investigation and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Denver, which handled the underlying investigation.
The Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation prosecuted Randy Lee, whose trial took two weeks. His sentencing is slated for April 2.