Odometer Fraud Investigation

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On July 6, 2017, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) executed search and arrest warrants in connection with a large scale odometer rollback investigation that resulted in an arrest, the recovery of a stolen vehicle, six odometer rollback machines, and 139 odometer clusters, which contain the components to a vehicle’s odometer. DPS took the suspect into custody in Grand Prairie on a charge of tampering with an odometer following a three-year investigation by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), DPS, the Fort Worth Police Department, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Tarrant County Regional Auto Crimes Task Force, and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.

Now that an arrest has been made and contacting victims no longer poses a risk to the ongoing investigation, the TxDMV plans to implement a public awareness and outreach campaign. Additionally, the department distributed an advisory to media outlets and will conduct media interviews to provide an overview of this investigation, alert the public of this type of crime, and provide information on how to protect themselves from being victims of odometer fraud.

In an effort to prevent the perpetuation of the problem and an increasing number of victims as ownership changes hands on these identified vehicles, the TxDMV has started flagging motor vehicle records with legal restraints (#OF000001), so future purchasers will know the odometer reading is inaccurate. The TxDMV will also notify victims that may have been impacted to advise victims of any options they have to recoup damages as a result of the devaluation of their vehicle.

Additionally, the TxDMV is in the process of programming an “Odometer Tampering” brand. The department will begin applying this brand to Texas titles once programming is complete. Owners of vehicles previously identified will be required to obtain a new Texas title reflecting this brand.

If you are presented with an application for Texas title or registration renewal for a motor vehicle that has the #OF000001 legal restraint on the record, please notify the applicant that their vehicle may have been subject to an odometer rollback. Please return their documentation if they do not wish to proceed with the transaction; otherwise, the motor vehicle record must be marked with “Not Actual Mileage” for any title transaction. An override authorization code will be required from your TxDMV Regional Service Center. After completing the transaction, it must be sent to the department in a Specially Marked Envelope in order for the title to be issued.

Additionally, records with this legal restraint will require an override authorization code in order to renew registration. Owners of these vehicles will not be able to renew online or at a subcontractor until the department has been able to implement the “Odometer Tampering” brand and removes the legal restraint.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Thank you,

Jeremiah Kuntz, Director
Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

JK:TH

If you have any comments or suggestions concerning this VTR communication process, please contact your local TxDMV Regional Service Center.

 

Source: Tax Assessor-Collectors
Odometer Fraud Investigation

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